The summer that never was
By Victoria, Aug 15 2020 12:57PM
Hello folks, I hope you're all keeping safe and healthy out there in your corner of this getting-crazier-by-the-day world.
I'm never really sure what to say when blogging, especially because my usually very low-key life is way more boring than normal thanks to, you know, a global pandemic.
So I thought I'd break it down my ramble into some fun little categories! Then you can skim and see if there's anything that interests you!
I am very close to finishing Ne'ver which was once known as The Kensington Boy or, as I've taken to describing it "my LGBTQIA Upper YA Peter Pan Reboot". Getting to the end of writing a book is always a very weird process for me, because I start to get a little bit of separation anxiety. My sleep schedule tends to go all screwy too, so on top of being excited and sad and inspired, I'm also exhausted. It's never a fun combination, but it's always 100% worth it. For a while there, I thought that Ne'ver was going to be my very first standalone, but now I'm not so sure...watch this space ;)
When I finish Ne'ver, I'm going to go back to writing Make It, the last Keswick Chronicles book. Then I'll be moving on either to Shadowkiller, the long-awaited fourth Red Sun Rises book, or I'll be working on Elevate, the second book in my Lightning Project series - I haven't made up my mind yet, as that's still a bit in the future (I was about a third of the way through Make It when I stopped to write Ne'ver). Honestly, as much as I know there are readers waiting for Shadowkiller and (hopefully) readers waiting on Elevate, the decision as to which one I work on next will be purely down to which one I'm most inspired to write. I think when I'm passionate about what I'm working on, it shows. I don't want to write something because I feel like that's what I should be doing at that time. I know that no matter what happens, I'll get to Shadowkiller and Elevate, because I love those characters and I'm not done with them.
What I'm Listening To
One of my favourite British bands, Creeper, released their new album recently. It's called Sex, Death & The Infinite Void and it's really great. They reached number 5 in the UK Album charts with it, which is really great and really well deserved. It's a lush, dark, twisted, romantic little gem of an album and definitely worth a listen if you like bands like AFI, My Chemical Romance and The Used.
Another of my all time favourites, Bright Eyes, are gearing up for the release of their first album in 9 years. It's brilliantly called Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was. I am a massive Bright Eyes fan and have been since I was 15/16, so I am very excited that they're releasing a new album. The songs they've released so far like "Mariana Trench" and "Persona Non Grata" are pure Bright Eyes - wonderful lyricism, melodies that keep you guessing, all tied together with Conor Oberst's distinctive voice. Oh, and there's bagpipes on "Persona Non Grata", which makes my little Scottish heart happy. The album comes out on August 21st, so be sure to give it a spin or pick up a copy.
Right this minute, I'm listening to Linkin Park's generation-defining debut, Hybrid Theory. Linkin Park were my gateway band to rock'n'roll as I know it today. Sure, I was listening to Nirvana for a couple of yearsbefore I saw Linkin Park perform "Crawling" on Top of The Pops (yeah, I'm *that* old) but Nirvana were very much over at that point. Linkin Park were new, young and had their whole career ahead of them. I got in on the ground floor and I've been a fan ever since. I can't quite believe that Hybrid Theory turns 20 this year, and while it still hurts to be celebrating such a massive milestone without Chester, for me there are more happy memories tied up in that album, in that band, and in that time of my life than there is sadness. So I for one am very excited about the anniversary box set, which I've already been assured Santa is bringing me for Christmas. The band released one of the demos from the era - "She Couldn't" - and it's really interesting to hear the band making the sort of music pre Hybrid Theory that their so called "fans" would call them out for making after Hybrid Theory. It just goes to show that the evolution of Linkin Park - and it was one hell of an evolution - was always there. They were never going to be the band that re-made their debut, no matter how successful it was. I miss their bravery, I miss their skill and I miss their artistry.
Generally speaking, I'm still listening to a lot of Fever 333 and Anti-Flag. If the state of the world scares you right now (and ya know, it should be scaring you at least a little), then they're the type of band that'll remind you there are good, intelligent, compassionate, angry, dedicated people out there who are relentlessly pursuing change and progress. It's probably a little weird to be cheered up by political punk music, but oh well!
What I'm Watching
I tried to pace myself when watching the 2nd series of The Umbrella Academy, really I did, but...well, it didn't really work out. The new season is a masterpiece and highly, highly enjoyable. If you haven't watched this The Umbrella Academy yet, then you really should. Even if you feel like you may be suffering from superhero fatigue (luckily, I seem to be immune), the series is refreshing, fun and feels new - even though the 2nd series is set in the 60s.
The fam and I watched Hamilton on Disney+, which has led to obsessions of varying degrees among our household. I thought it was great - the staging, the music, the story - and we hope to see it in a theatre soon! It's a bit of a commitment (almost 3 hours long) and it moves fast, so it's not the sort of thing you can (or should) watch while scrolling the socials. But it is worth the time, and it's worthy of the hype, so definitely check it out if you can.
I'm also doing a Buffy re-watch when I find myself bored - I started with the season 2 finale and I'm just about half way through Season 3. I started watching Buffy in 97/98 (told you I was old) and was absolutely obsessed with it, so I've got enough of a grasp on the story to be able to just dip in and out, watching my favourite episodes when the mood strikes. It's remarkable how well it holds up now. Fashion choices aside, it's pretty timeless, and I've been enjoying it! My mum and I are also watching Desperate Housewives (I only got to season 4 when it was originally broadcast) and it's fun and crazy. My mum, sister and I also watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians at dinner, and it's hilarious. We all got a bit sucked in to it without really planning to, but it's fun to watch together. I'm not really one for "guilty pleasures" - if I like something, I like it, so what? - and the Kardashians show tends to fall under that category!
What I'm Reading
Not nearly enough, tbh. I used to be a ferocious reader, but finding the time is a bit of a struggle right now. Mostly I just read over what I've already done for Ne'ver, which I know isn't healthy. I'm tempted to pick up a copy of Midnight Sun (I had a Twilght phase) but haven't got round to it yet. I'm going to pick up the paperback edition of The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion because I decided not to read single issues (too impatient, I blame Netflix getting folk into the habit of getting a whole series at once!) so I will be reading that next, I think.
Gerard Way also announced a new run of his Killjoys comic, but I think I will get back into the habit of reading single issues for that one because I am super excited about it. One of my friends kindly recommended a subscription service where I can get the comics delivered to my house, so I'm going to set that up for sure!
I've been meaning to grab a copy of Ryan La Sala's Reverie as well, so hopefully I'll have more to share in this section next time!
General Life Stuff
Well this whole summer feels like a whole stretch of could've/should've beens - I had such a great summer planned! I was going to go to Slam Dunk Festival, Hella Mega Tour and the MCR reunion shows in Milton Keynes this summer. Oh, and I was supposed to be leaving for a trip to Paris in 22 days, but with the quarantine restrictions being put back in place here in the UK, my family and I have decided to postpone our holiday until next summer.
Still, while I may be a little sad when I look back over everything I should've been doing this summer, I'm grateful to be safe and healthy. I've spent some quality time with my family, we're all adjusting well to working and living in this "new normal", and hey, if nothing else, I got a book out of it. So I'm trying not to mourn my lost summer too much, and focus on all the fun stuff I have lined up for next year!
I'm getting a new tattoo next weekend, and I'm very excited about it. My right arm from elbow to wrist is pretty much covered, but I have a big blank space on my left arm. Next weekend, it's going to be filled in with a piece I'm very excited to have. I will no doubt post it all over my Instagram and Twitter, so if you don't follow me on those places, you should!
My local cinema is re-opening next week as well, and while I don't know what they'll be showing, I can't wait to go! I usually go to the cinema once a week, so it's been weird not going for so long. I'm looking forward to a little bit of normality.
So that's it from me for another little while. Stay safe, stay healthy and wear your mask!