I have just finished watching season 1 of Skin Wars on a friend’s recommendation. It is very very far from my usual sort of thing: it’s a reality show that’s a competition in body painting. My friend promised that it was very low on the interpersonal cattiness/drama, with lots of very skilled work and a certain amount of people learning stuff about their art, learning from each other. New art and learning? Hey, I’m there for that. And I was immediately hooked, and I will definitely watch the other two seasons, especially since my friend is a person who would have warned me if there was a lot of body-shaming weirdness in store.
One of the things that fascinates me is that the artists involved in this were often financially struggling–it’s not a fast route to fame and fortune–and they had pretty well-entrenched justifications for why they deserved success that were not always easy to dislodge by circumstances that really should have dislodged them. Examples:
—I have put in the time. I have worked long hours. This is a competition with firmly set time limits, around each piece and around the competition as a whole. Each artist gets literally exactly the same amount of time. There are no examples of artists putting their feet up and being done early, and beyond that here is absolutely no way for anyone to put in more time than anyone else. Eventually this got clarified to:
—I have put in the time. I spent my whole life learning this. Finally someone turned to the person who kept repeating this and said, how old are you? and determined that they were very close to the same age. And that they had both spent their whole life learning it, so…yeah. Not a distinguishing feature. I’ve seen both of these at conventions, though: I have devoted more time to science fiction than the other people at my day job! And I’ve seen a certain amount of it in various factions in the field who are convinced that they are the ones who are truly, deeply devoted–and that that kind of devotion has to be what matters. (Spoiler: it does not have to be. Sorry.)
—I need it the most. My living conditions are worse than other people’s without recognition. There are indeed need-based scholarships for various types of study, and I’m very glad. But they’re usually clearly labeled, and “I like your art a lot” and “I think you need money” are not actually the same thing–and “you should like my art a lot because I need money” doesn’t actually work very well.
—I need it the most. I poured my heart into this piece. “You should like my art a lot because I need validation” does not turn out to work better than “you should like my art a lot because I need money.” It is often a great idea to pour your heart into art. I recommend it. Then make more art and pour your heart into that. Also technique at the same time.
—I have the most technical skills. Ever heard a pianist play Hanon? They are finger exercises. They are finger exercises, they are to make you a technically better pianist, and nobody plays them in concert because they are no fun to listen to. (Or play. Freakin’ Hanon.) Okay, okay, they have a certain hypnotic power, they can be impressive, but…at the end of the day if you are showing up and playing Hanon, nobody is buying your book, your painting, or in the most literal sense, tickets to your piano concert. (Freakin’ Hanon.)
It is apparently really, really hard to say, “Mine is good. Here is what I did well. Look at this part. I deserve this because mine is really good art. I combined the technical and the creative, this has thought and feeling and everything it’s supposed to have, and who cares whether I picked up those skills in two minutes or ten million hours, who cares whether someone else thinks that they are overall better than me and paid their dues more than me, here is the thing I made, it doesn’t come with dues, it comes with awesome.”
It is even harder to say, “I don’t know what’s missing. I did everything right. It’s just not happening for me. Can you help me see what’s going wrong in my piece?” And sometimes there are ten million answers, and sometimes there’s one answer, and sometimes there…isn’t. And sometimes the artificial contest structure of a reality show has made something happen that reality doesn’t support, it has made a thing where there is a winner and a loser where actually in a group of ten there might be three pieces that really work and four that don’t and three that meh, or ten that meh, or any other combination of numbers.
But the attachment to previous explanations of why you deserve it, the strength of that: that really got fascinating for me, and I will be riveted to see whether that continues for future seasons.
I'm not sure how long I should continue the experiment. I think for the month of June?
I made a few teensy exceptions to my rules that books for this promotion had to be November releases. One friend had a re-release, one November release was short fiction that I used to bump mention of the related book, and when I mentioned the project on the Bella Books facebook group, a couple of my fellow Bella authors with October releases asked it I could include them too--which I did when I found I had some space open at the end of the month. (Ordinarily, I try to avoid scope creep because it hits my anxiety buttons.) I'm re-arranging the planned schedule a bit to move those Bella books into the next few days because...Bella Books is having a weekend sale! 17% off all orders over $17.
Tempered Steele: Hard Edges by M. E. Logan is a follow-up to the post-apocalyptic dystopian romantic adventure Tempered Steele: Stoking the Fire.
After a nearly apocalyptic earthquake engendered a societal breakdown, visionary Deborah Steele returned to her isolated family farm and turned it into a safe haven for women to escape from the increasingly misogynistic and dystopian world around them. Her fair and open system of contracting labor for food, shelter and security has bound them together and ensured their survival. So far…
Outside the farm, however, others are using a contract system as a form of human trafficking. And Deborah’s attempts to protect her estranged love, Joanna Davis, will soon bring the women’s community unwanted visibility, putting them all in danger and forcing Deborah to choose between the sanctuary she has built and the woman she still loves.
It doesn't take a dystopia for women to need to struggle against misogyny and a society that exploits their labor and denies them a full life. Challenging those forces will always put them in danger, whether of overt violence or the no less hazardous rejection of society. In Mother of Souls, Luzie Valorin faces the choice between acceding to those who think her musical skills are only suitable for domestic amusements--or to support a man's career--and reaching out to sieze the chance for greatness. Perhaps even to change the fate of Europe with her compositions!
The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events. And at the moment, some of those books are on sale!
Friday is still a little jet-lagged…
- Rescue cat sleeps every night tucked into her tiny bed.
- Humorous social media posts from Australia’s New South Wales police force.
- Corgi mixed-breeds have achieved all the cuteness.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
So if I missed anything important, I'm sorry xx
Editor's Note: I had a horrific migraine yesterday, so you're getting a bumper edition today.
- Discussion, Reactions, Reviews and News -
- The big news: this week's episode has had a small cut made to it due to events in Manchester (apparently it's just one line of dialogue, so not like the couple of minutes that was trimmed from Robot of Sherwood). This is covered in The Radio Times, The Gallifrey Times, and The Indy, among other places.
- Lots of sites are also covering the Titan Summer Comic Event "The Lost Dimension": Doctor Who News, The Gallifreyan Gazette, Blogtor Who, and The Gallifrey Times.
- The Gallifrey Times has a photo gallery from The Pyramid at the End of the World (also in The Gallifreyan Gazette), a whole team review of Extremis, and news of an agreement to expand Doctor Who into China up to series 15 (which means they are planning up to series 15! Yay! This is also in Doctor Who News, CultBox, and Den of Geek by the by.).
- glory_jean has a recap of what they thought of the season so far.
- beccaelizabeth has been listening to Big Finish: Torchwood: Outbreak. Here are her thoughts on disc one and a longer review of the story overall.
- nostalgia starts a discussion of the Doctor's treatment of Missy in doctor_and_master.
- purplecat rewatches and reviews The Daleks (1963).
- Den of Geek has a "spoiler free" review of The Pyramid at the End of the World.
- Blogtor Who has a VERY favourable review of Big Finish's UNIT Assembled, a "spoiler-free" review of The Pyramid at the End of the World, news of Billie Piper and Pearl Mackie attending a convention next weekend in Philadelphia, and the air date and synopsis for Empress of Mars (also in The Gallifrey Times).
- The Gallifreyan Gazette has a reminder of the synopsis for The Lie of the Land.
- Pop Culturalist has a long review of Wholanta, with some awesome cosplay photos. (recced by acciochocolate in doctorwho)
- CultBox has 10 spoiler-free ‘Doctor Who’ hints for Season 10 Episode 7: ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’.
- Podcasts and Audiovisual Discussion -
- The Official BBC Doctor Who YouTube channel has Steven Moffat and Peter and Pearl introducing The Pyramid at the End of the World, and also a clip therefrom.
- Verity (audio podcast) Episode 138 discusses Extremis.
- Tin Dog Podcast (audio podcast) Episode 675 discusses Extremis too.
- Travelling the Vortex (audio podcast) Episode 331 also discusses Extremis.
- The Watchathon of Rassilon (audio podcast) discusses Wholanta and Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD.
- Outpost Skaro (audio podcast) Episode 121 discusses Knock Knock.
- Who's He? (audio podcast) Episode 270 discusses Extremis.
- Who's Doing What Now? (audio podcast) Episode 54 discusses The Unicorn and the Wasp.
- The Doctor Who Show's A-Z of Doctor Who strand has reached (audio podcast) Episode 13: M.
- The Coal Hill AV Club (autoplaying audio podcast) Episode 70 covers Extremis.
- Gallifrey Stands (audio podcast) Episode 163 is a discussion of all 6 episodes of series 10 so far.
- Who's On Target (audio podcast) Episode 49 discusses Extremis.
- Mutter's Spiral (audio podcast) Episode 130 also discusses Extremis.
- Doctor Who: The Sonic Toolbox (audio podcast) discusses Extremis too.
- Mark Who 42 (audio podcast) Episode 183 discusses Oxygen and Extremis.
- Discussing Who (audio podcast) Episode 48 covers Southern Geek Fest.
- New Who Podcast (autoplaying audio podcast) discusses Oxygen and Extremis.
- Doctor Whooch (audio podcast) Episode 114 was unimpressed with Extremis and has swearing even in the title.
- The Impossible Girls (audio podcast) Episode 63 discusses Extremis.
- Reality Bomb (audio podcast) Episode 46 talks about comics, the awesomeness of Bill, Extremis, and The Ultimate Foe, among other things.
- Wanderers in the Fourth Dimension (audio podcast) Episode 270 discusses Extremis.
- The Cultdom Collective (autoplaying audio podcast) have a commentary track for Extremis.
- Gallifrey's Most Wanted (audio podcast) Episode 9 discusses Rose.
- The Pharos Project (audio podcast) Episode 215 discusses Extremis.
- Big Blue Box Podcast (audio podcast) Episode 143 covers various bits of Merch, and Extremis.
- The Ood Cast (audio podcast) discusses Extremis.
- (audio podcast) Episode .
- The Who Addicts (YouTube channel) has a preview of The Pyramid at the End of the World.
- Challenges, Prompts and Announcements relating to Fanworks -
- trobadora is promoting sign-ups for wintercompanion in who_at_50 (and also in fandom_on_dw).
- zabimitsuki is promoting the fic and art bingo challenge seasonofkink in fandomcalendar (and also in fandom_on_dw).
- prisca has news of the June mini summer bingo challenge for fffc in fandomcalendar.
- Fanworks -
Fic: (rating; characters/pairings)
- nuraicha posts Both Ends of a Candle in dwfiction. (G; Twelve/Missy, Twelve/Simm!Master, Bill Potts.)
- penaltywaltz posts A Well-Timed Rescue in crossovers and in everything_who. (PG; Donna Noble, Harold Saxon & Greg Lestrade)
- penaltywaltz posts Ask and Ye Shall Recieve in everything_who. (PG; Sally Donovan/Molly Hooper, Spock/Nyota Uhura, Sherlock Holmes/Molly Hooper, August Booth/Emma Swan, Mr. Holmes/Mummy Holmes, Danny Pink/Clara Oswald)
GIFsets, Caps, and Photosets:
- 3rddoctor has a series of the Master/Missy asking for help.
Podfic and Fanvids
- Jake Dudman (YouTube channel) has a reworking of the Eleventh Doctor meeting the Curator, featuring Jon Culshaw.
- FiveWhoFans (YouTube channel) has It's Never Omega! - A Zygon Called ISIS and an alternative version of Extremis.
GT aims to cover Doctor Who Universe news and fan activity on Dreamwidth and beyond. If you'd like to be added to our watch list, please leave a comment here. Questions? If you can't find the answer on our profile, you can contact the editors by commenting on any edition of the newsletter.
I've been forgetting about it, or I've been at best excited that I have my passports back. I really underestimated how much I would hate being without them (plural because the expired one has my proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain in it, which is my proof I can work here and hopefully what keeps the border guards at Manchester Airport from being completely awful to me whenever I come back, so the expired passport is still an integral part of the deal).
Working on my book (I owe Kickstarter an update too). I am so stressed about it at this point, but Andrew's looking at what I have today and assures me it's not as bad as I feared and it's not as far from being done as I feared either.
And po8crg and haggis are taking me out for dinner tonight to celebrate my UK citizenship, so that should help make it seem a bit more real!
apparently, anyway :)
I don’t know what I’m doing instead of blogging, since I’m on the computer all the damn time. (That’s not true. I know what I’m doing instead of blogging: watching the fall of the American nation in real time.)
We had a college friend visit in early May. We had a wonderful time with her. We saw a steam train in Dublin, and went to the zoo (where, as we were lecturing/answering Indy on some topic, switching back and forth with providing information, and ending by saying exactly the same words, together, I was reminded of going to a concert with her when we were in college and somebody telling us what a cute couple we were (we said thank you), and I said to her, “You remember that? Those same people listening to us right now would be delighted we were still such a cute couple,” and she laughed :)), and ate fudge (“This,” she said, in raptures, “this is like the chocolate in a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven,” which she knows about because one of her superpowers, thanks to growing up in a bakery, is an ability to eat chocolate chip cookies while molten. She can literally eat them straight out of the oven. “NOOOOOOOO!” she tells other people as she shoves cookies out of the oven and into her mouth, “YOU’LL MELT YOUR MOUTH INTO A CAVE OF BURNING PAIN!”
“Pah!” say other people. “YOU’RE eating them, they must be fiOH GOD OH GOD MY MOUTH IS A CAVE OF BURNING PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN”) and she struggled with Irish bread bag “twist ties” (which are not twist ties, but stickers that you wrap around the closed neck of the bread bag), so I showed her how to open them and she muttered, “We need never speak of this again,” and I said, “Sure, by which I mean, I’m totally posting it online,” and she told me about Amish superhumans and she and Ted went out to dinner at our favourite restaurant, the Lebanese one in Dublin, where, when Ted came in with another woman, they were like “ER WHAT’S GOING ON HERE WHERE’S CATIE?” and Ted was like “Catie made the reservations! SHE KNOWS I’M OUT WITH ANOTHER WOMAN!” and this was a very long sentence which I feel touches on how much fun we had. :)
Then Trump fired Comey and I didn’t blog any of this because (see above, re: fall of American nation).
And then Trump revealed classified information to the Russians and I (see above).
After that it was our anniversary and we got to go to a movie together for the first time we could remember in at least a year and possibly almost three years (the last movie we’re SURE we saw together was GotG1). We went to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which was better than I expected it to be. It had roughly as much to do with the Arthurian legend as Disney’s Pocahontas had to do with Pocahontas, but it did a couple of REALLY nice things with the sword-in-the-stone aspect of the story, and the magic was really quite good. Also–don’t get me wrong, I loved the bad guy’s design, but–every time it came on screen I thought “So Guy Ritchie spent his formative years staring at Frank Frazatta paintings and thinking I totally want to make one of these a bad guy in a big movie someday,” and he by god did. I could have done with a bit more explanation in a couple places and about, mmm, fifteen minutes less movie overall, but by the end of it I was like, “Yeah, I’d go watch another one of these,” so it’s too bad it’s made absolutely no money. :)
And then some asshole blew up a concert in Manchester and etc.
That pretty much brings us to this week. I’ve been going to the gym, more or less. I wanted to be able to bike there, so I was looking for a second-hand bike, and a friend said “lo, I have one!” so I collected it last night and now I have a bike! ♥! I saw the PT yesterday who crunckled and twisted and tugged and pushed on me and it was great and amazing. I went to Colossal, which is a pretty good movie that is *not* what it says on the tin. I’ve gotten all the ATLANTIS FALLEN Kickstarter rewards sent out, and I’ve sent BEWITCHING BENEDICT to the editor for line edits and I’ve gotten line edits for REDEEMER back from her, so things are moving along there.
So how have you been? O.O
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
If that sounds like fun to you, you're in luck. This June, Steve Jackson Games and nearly 200 game stores around the United States and Canada will host a #GhostsLoveCandy Game Day in June! Most events will be held the weekend of June 16, but call your local store ahead of time to confirm the exact date and time of their ghostly gathering.
Each event will feature demos of the game, plus promo cards and promo finger puppets. And don't forget, while you're trying out the game, post photos to social media with #GhostsLoveCandy. Tag @SJGames on Twitter and Facebook, and @SteveJacksonGames on Instagram, and you'll be automatically entered to win prizes. Tag your store in the post, too, so the store will be entered to win a separate retailer prize.
Want to check out the game before the event? Watch our live unboxing and how-to-play videos to get the inside scoop.
Here are the event locations. Happy haunting!
Comic Encounters - Terrace
K-Max Games & Videos - Quesnel
A Muse N Games - Winnipeg
Thunder Games & Gifts - Thunder Bay
Twice The Fun Games - Kemptville
Comic Readers (Downtown) - Regina
Bud's Place Games and Comics - Leeds
Game Time Hobbies - Opelika
Haven: Comics Etc. - Madison
Quality Collectibles - Jasper
Bosco's - Anchorage
Gamer Utopia - Rogers
Imagine! Hobbies and Games - Sherwood
Game Depot Arizona - Tempe
Isle of Games - Tucson
All Ways Gaming - Chatsworth
B & E Games - San Jose
Davis Cards & Games - Davis
Empire Collectibles Comic Books & Games - San Diego
Game Empire - San Diego
Gator Games & Hobby - San Mateo
Green Tower Games - Santa Clarita
North Coast Role Playing - Eureka
Ottos Video Games and More - Bakersfield
Pair A Dice Games - Vista
Paladin's Game Castle - Bakersfield
Paper Hero's Games - Sherman Oaks
Shuffle and Cut Games - La Habra
So Cal Games and Comics - Temecula
The Game Chest - Mission Viejo
The War House - Long Beach
Game Kastle Santa Clara - Santa Clara
Comic Cult Torrance - Torrance
Black & Read Inc. - Arvada
Digital Dungeon - Greeley
Shep's Games - Aurora
Total Escape Games - Broomfield
Time Machine Hobby LLC. - Manchester
Arena Comics and Gaming - Panama City
Dark Side Comics - Sarasota
Gods & Monsters - Orlando
Heroes Landing Comic Shop - Clermont
Kitchen Table Games - St. Petersburg
Dogs of War Gaming - Palm Bay
Coliseum of Comics - Orlando
Meeple Madness - Flowery Branch
Tyche's Games - Athens
Other Realms Ltd The Comic & Game Specialist - Honolulu
All About Games Downtown - Boise
Safari Pearl - Moscow
Amazing Fantasy Comics and Games - Frankfort
Castle Perilous Games & Books - Carbondale
Off On The Square - Jacksonville
The Paper Escape - Dixon
Top Cut Comics - Rockford
Dizzy Dugout - Collinsville
HobbyTown USA Orland Park - Orland Park
Comic Quest Inc. - Evansville
GameQuest - Fort Wayne
Empire Comics - New Albany
Hometown Comics and Games - Greenfield
JustForFun - Peoria
Merlin's Beard - Lafayette
Reader Copies - Anderson
Saltire Games - Indianapolis
The Sage's Shoppe - West Lafayette
The Traveling Gamer - Walkerton
Acme Comics & Collectibles - Sioux City
Critical Hit Games - Iowa City
Geek City Games and Comics - North Liberty
Mayhem Comics Des Moines - Clive
Game Nut Entertainment Iowa St - Lawrence
Game Nut Entertainment Massachusetts St - Lawrence
Hometown Games - Lawrence
TableTop Game & Hobby - Overland Park
BluegrassMagic Gameshop - Louisville
Cafe Meeples - Richmond
Comic Book World - Florence
Comics 2 Games, LLC - Florence
Go4Games - Metairie
Game On - Augusta
The Dragon's Lair - Norway
Weekend Anime - Westbrook
Dream Wizards - Rockville
Walt's Cards - Baltimore
Comicazi - Somerville
Round Table Games - Carver
Video Game Castle - Chicopee
New England Comics New Bedford - New Bedford
Backstage Hobbies & Games - Ludington
Dreams of Conquest - Bay City
Flat Land Game Store - Wixom
R.I.W. Hobbies - Livonia
Squirreled Away Books - Armada
TC Paintball - Traverse City
The Gaming Cantina - Charlotte
Topps Trade Center - Benton Harbor
White Cap Comics - Grand Rapids
Ziege Games - Howell
Mike's Comics and Games - New Baltimore
Collector's Connection - Duluth
Lionheart Games - Waite Park
Paddy's Game Shoppe - St. Cloud
Caster's Den - Iuka
Tupelo Sportscards - Tupelo
CCYDNE Hobbies - Lebanon
Thompson Productions L.L.C. - Warrensburg
Orion's Keep Games - Hamilton
Game On - Grand Island
Game On - Kearney
Game On - McCook
Game On - North Platte
Gauntlet Games - Lincoln
HobbyTown USA Lincoln - Lincoln
Frank-N-Fred Comics & Cards - Elko
Games Galore - Reno
Little Shop of Magic - Las Vegas
The Broken Lance - Farmington
The Relentless Dragon - Nashua
All Things Fun! - Trenton
Fairy Glen - Howell
Hobbymasters - Red Bank
Zia Comics and Gaming - Las Cruces
Brooklyn Game Lab - Brooklyn
Cloud Giant - New Hartford
Flights of Fantasy Books & Games - Albany
Bear's Lair Games - New Bern
Cape Fear Games - Wilmington
DreamDaze Comics Fun & Games Inc. - Wilson
Hillside Games - Asheville
The Gamer's Armory - Cary
Beyond The Board - Dublin
Comic Shop Plus - Newark
Diversions - Newbury
Flying Monkey Comics and Games - Delaware
Fun Factory - Mount Gilead
Heroes and Games - Columbus
HobbyPop Shop - Cincinnati
Next Level Gaming Center - Gallipolis
Recess - North Olmsted
Sci-Fi City Cincinnati - Cincinnati
The Rook OTR - Cincinnati
Toledo Game Room - Toledo
Funagain Games Eugene - Eugene
Guardian Games - Portland
Rainy Day Games - Aloha
Red Castle Games - Portland
The Portland Game Store - Portland
Wild Things Games - Salem
Funagain Games Ashland - Ashland
Comics Store West - York
Firefly Bookstore - Kutztown
Gamers Heaven - Phoenixville
Showcase Comics and Games Bryn Mawr - Bryn Mawr
Six Feet Under Games - New Holland
The Brothers Uber - Grove City
Cornermagic Gaming Center - Piedmont
Firefly Toys & Games - Columbia
Hall of Heroes - Ripley
8th Dimension Comics & Games - Houston
Bedrock City Games Westheimer - Houston
Black Dog Enterprises - Lubbock
Cards and Comics Connection - Conroe
Childs' Play: Games & Geekery - New Braunfels
Collected TCU - Fort Worth
Common Ground Games - Dallas
Court of Gamers - San Antonio
Dimensions Comics - Seabrook
Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy - Houston
Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy - Austin
Emerald Tavern Games and Cafe - Austin
Fleur Fine Books - Port Neches
Madness Comics and Games - Denton
Space Cadets Gaming Gaming - Oak Ridge North
Three Suns Unlimited - Longview
Wonko's Toys & Games - Austin
Game Night Games - Salt Lake City
High Gear Hobbies - Taylorsville
Comics & Gaming Fairfax - Fairfax
Kaboom - Virginia Beach
Dice Age Games - Vancouver
Fantasium Comics and Games - Federal Way
The Dragon's Hoard Games & Collectibles - Silverdale
Calico Toy Shoppe - Bainbridge Island
Nerd Rage Morgantown - Morgantown
The Industry WV Game Center/J & M's Used Bookstore - Parkersburg
Gnome Games Appleton East - Appleton
Gnome Games Green Bay West - Green Bay
The GameBoard - Sheboygan
Lake Geneva Games - Lake Geneva
Games of Chance - Riverton
– Ariel Barkhurst
Warehouse 23 News: The Road To Adventure Is Now Open!
Undertake a journey where East meets West in GURPS Hot Spots: The Silk Road. Discover the history, culture, people, food, and faith of this historical region . . . and unleash the campaign ideas herein to add this realm to your own game! Download it today, only from Warehouse 23.
1. I am very glad to read that the revised travel ban continues to be ruled unconstitutional.
2. This is a very sweetly drawn comic about bisexuality.
3. Courtesy of gaudior: an appreciation of the Mahler's 6th mallet. I feel someone should point Hurra Torpedo at this symphony.
In conclusion: borscht.
There was more to the magic than infectious enthusiasm. I have spent a not-insignificant proportion of my working life at pop gigs in arenas filled with kids and teenagers, usually in a state of mild bemusement. I have seen shows I thought were abysmal and shows I thought were impressively slick. I have seen artists treat their audience with something bordering on contempt (there is something incredibly galling about watching a singer who can’t even be bothered to pretend to mime) and artists who genuinely left me open-mouthed (Miley Cyrus, following her decision to abandon her squeaky-clean Disney image for something deliberately provocative). I could make an informed, objective critical judgment about them, but I never fully understood them, never really grasped what they were for, never really got what was going on in the audience, until I saw one through my daughter’s eyes.
It wasn’t just that she was overawed by the spectacle, although she was: stuff I took for granted – lasers, pyrotechnics, confetti cannons, all the usual bells and whistles of a big pop show – were a constant source of overwhelming sensory overload. Nor was it the way her lack of cynicism made me reconsider my own feelings, although that happened too. I have always been deeply suspicious of the kind of rhetoric that modern pop surrounds itself with: all that platitudinous “just be yourself”, “if you dream it you can do it” stuff. But my daughter took it all at face value and I ended up thinking: Well, there’s certainly worse messages you can send out to kids.
But mostly it was the way it gave her a first glimpse of a world that was previously outside her experience, a more adult, or at least more mature world than the one she knew, a world that would one day be her own, and how excited she was to see it, how – as she put it – grown-up it made her feel. She experienced something that transcended her pretty fickle and changeable musical allegiances. Jessie J has long been replaced in her affections – by, among others, Ariana Grande. The selfie she took that night is still on her bedroom wall. If that was true of a seven-year-old being chaperoned by her father, how much more true was it for the kids that were just old enough to be there without their parents, the ones who had relegated their mums and dads to waiting in the foyer or outside in the car?