Internet’s most interesting

A sampling of the online goodness that caught my eye this week.

More of my shared stuff here.


The same-sex version of ‘You Belong With Me’ is totally overrated

Since climbing up on my gay high horse yesterday, I figure I might as well stay here for a bit longer.

In the last week or so a lot of my friends have shared the same-sex version of Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’ clip. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin: recreation of the music video, but with two dudes instead of a girl and a dude. Check it:

The verdict generally seems to be that it’s the cutest little video ever. And it is cute. But it’s also totally overrated, because the guys don’t kiss at the end.

Taylor’s original incarnation of the clip ends with her pashing Lucas Till. The same-sex version just… fades to black. That’s kind of a boring finish, but it also robs the clip of any conviction to its message. It becomes merely “Boys have crushes on boys, and that’s fine, but eeeeew we don’t want to see them kissing!”. Which is a shame, because it started so well.

This isn’t about me wanting to see two cute guys locking lips – it’s about me getting peeved that the creators of the same-sex remake kinda pussed out on a great idea.

(Also, the wicked girlfriend should totally have been played by the cute nerd in drag, and not by an actual girl.)

(Also, my absolute favourite bit of ‘You Belong With Me’ is about 22 seconds into the song, when there’s this little snare bit that reminds me of ‘Kitty Cat Dance’, aka the internet’s greatest song about cats.)


Kurt from Glee: still annoyingly gay

I’m super-mega-psyched about the return of Glee next month (and desperately hoping the four-month hiatus won’t have killed the show somehow). However, this spoiler bothers me:

Kurt will concoct a Parent Trap-like plan by setting up his dad with Finn’s mother. But true love isn’t actually on his agenda – Kurt just wants to bunk up with his beloved jock.

This isn’t the first time Kurt has attempted to seduce Finn, and the storyline is just as annoying as it was the first go around. The “gay dude tricks his way into straight dude’s pants, hur hur” plot is lazy at best, and dangerous at worst, if you’ll pardon the hysteria. Straight guys get uncomfortable if they think gay guys are plotting to get hold of their junk, while gays get irritated at straights who assume they’re homo-catnip simply by virtue of having a penis.

It staggers me that Glee, a popular show with a strong gay sensibility and a large gay fanbase, would stoop to a plot like this – especially since series co-creator Ryan Murphy is a proudly gay man who says he was a proudly gay teen. I want the show to do better than this, because I know it can. Maybe, fingers crossed, there’s more to this story than that one-line spoiler indicates. I hope so.

(Not that I blame Kurt for wanting to get it awn with Finn. Cory Monteith is way cute.)


Book review: Heart of Gold, Michael Pryor

Okay, I’m now officially a fan of The Laws of Magic. Blaze of Glory (my review is here) was a fun read, but Heart of Gold is a ripper.

So in this instalment – the second in the series – our hero Aubrey Fitzwilliam and his chum George Doyle leave “Albion” on a trip to “Lutetia”, the beautiful capital city of “Gallia”. (Laws is set in an alternate universe where a) magic is real, and b) everywhere has a different name, so England is “Albion” and Paris is “Lutetia”. It even has its own “Exposition Tower”. Hee.)

Aubrey reunites with the beautiful Caroline Hepworth – who’s kind of like Hermione Granger, if Hermione were all aloof and kick-ass – and discovers a plot to destroy Lutetia and spark war across the Continent.

The right word is “rollicking”. In Gold author Michael Pryor expands the world he created in Blaze, crafting an adventure that’s immensely captivating (even in the bits where the plot feels like it’s treading water).

Pryor is not only a writer who makes me want to read, he’s a writer who makes me want to write. And now on to book three, Word of Honour!


Observations on New Zealand

If you look really hard, you can spot an Orc in this photo!

Here are some things I noticed during my recent stay in New Zealand:

1. It is fucking beautiful. Like, there is a reason that Lord of the Rings and several other fantasy movies have been shot there.

2. Kiwis are super-nice. (Either that, or Kiwis are just a regular level of nice, and everyone in Sydney is a super-jerk. This is a distinct possibility.) Everyone I encountered was unfailingly polite and friendly, even people who didn’t work in the tourism industry. The only rude minge I encountered (who wasn’t even Kiwi – I think she was German or something) was a waitress at a restaurant in Christchurch, who snapped that we couldn’t eat dinner there because she was expecting two large groups, which I guess was my fault or something.

3. The accent… um. I will say this: New Zealanders are very well-spoken. For example. Where an Australian will say something that sounds like “bedda siddy” for “better city”, a Kiwi will actually pronounce the Ts. Unfortunately the vowels will be rendered into something like “butter sitty”, which is hilarious. New Zealand, I hereby offer an apology for my constant stifled sniggers at your amusing ickcent.


Book review: Blaze of Glory, Michael Pryor

Blaze of GloryWhen I was a kid I loved pretty much everything Enid Blyton wrote, with a couple of exceptions. First among these was Noddy (that little prat). Second was Fatty, the so-called “hero” of the Five Find-Outers series. Fatty was a rich, boastful boor (who was obsessed with “slimming”, though he never seemed to lose any weight), and his adventures left me with a long-running distaste for tales of the English upper-class.

The Laws of Magic novels, of which Blaze of Glory is part one, are about Aubrey Fitzwilliam – a very rich, very clever, very absurdly named English toff who attends a posh boarding school and is the son of a prominent politician. By rights I should hate him. But I don’t, and I think it’s because Michael Pryor is playing with the conventions of a genre I once loathed.

And doing an awfully good job of it. For example: Aubrey’s best chum George constantly calls him “old man”. And at one stage he dresses himself up as a street urchin called Tommy Sparks. Tommy Sparks! Brilliant.

Superficially, Laws of Magic is a lot like Harry Potter: both are about slight, dark-haired, magically gifted teenagers with a knack for landing themselves in the thick of mysterious events. But Blaze of Glory is rife with a political intrigue that’s absent from the Potter novels (from the early ones, at least): it’s set in an alternate universe in the early 20th century, as “Albion” is on the verge of war with “Holmland” (stand-ins for England and Germany, respectively).

Aubrey and George are invited to a shooting weekend at the Crown Prince’s palatial country estate, joined by politicians, aristocrats and foreign diplomats. Aubrey foils an attempt on the Prince’s life when he discovers a golem sent on an assassination mission – but who sent the golem, and why? …