Music Spotlight | Genesis – Mama

Can’t you feel my heart?

When I was little, my parents had an CD called “The Best Rock Album in the World…Ever!” It was my favourite. I listened to Crazy Crazy Nights by Kiss over and over. More Than A Feeling was my jam.

There were two songs on this album that gave me the first taste of what music can do, because they were so dark and insidious sounding to my four-year-old brain that they genuinely terrified me. One was Inside by Stiltskin.

The other was Mama.

Originally believed by some people (including the band’s manager) to be from the point of view of a foetus pre-abortion, it’s actually about a young man who has an Oedipal obsession with an older prostitute. It’s been over twenty years since I first heard it and between the sinister drum track, the synth, that laugh and what sounds like Phil Collins having a nervous breakdown halfway through it still makes the back of my neck prickle every time I listen to it.

Here’s the video. C R E E P Y.

Anyway, I know it’s deeply uncool for some reason but I really like Phil Collins. Peace.

International Women’s Day – MtG edition!

Happy International Women’s Day! I can already hear the eyes rolling like marbles in the heads of several men. This is your periodic reminder that if you put half as much effort into supporting the issues that are raised during International Men’s Day that you do into being so offended by IWD, the world would be a much better place.

(It’s November 19th, by the way.)

Anyway, in honour of the occasion let’s talk about some of my favourite and most inspirational women in the Magic: the Gathering community.

Magic: the Amateuring

I stumbled across the Magic: the Amateuring podcast on the back of an article by host Meghan Wolff about women in Magic and the subsequent…well, you all know what happened next.

(Episode #126 of Magic: the Amateuring discusses this and many of the issues raised in Meghan’s article about the various – often very subtle – ways in which women are treated differently and in some cases made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, so if you’re on the “why are the women complaining AGAIN” side of the fence, I would recommend listening and please, educate yourself.)

Maria and Meghan are my heroes. They’re hysterically funny (I’ve had to leave the office and sit on the toilet midway through listening to an episode because I can’t stop giggling) damn good players and two of the strongest advocates I can think of for opening doors in the game. My favourite moment is hearing Maria go on an impassioned rant in the above podcast about how being a Pro Tour competitor isn’t a necessity for someone to be a strong member of the coverage team, and how there are numerous women out there who are MORE than qualified to take on that role, and now she does Pro Tour coverage for Wizards of the Coast. SLAAAAAYING.

Stef Dolan

HI STEF! Stef is the first woman in Scotland (and to date, as far as I know, the only female player in Scotland) to win a Pro Point. Aside from that, she’s a huge cheerleader both for Team Murphy’s Vault and for the Magic community on the whole, and I think she’s great.

Plus she loves Stormbreath Dragon, which is everything I look for in a friend.


Dana Fischer

Okay, so Dana Fischer is only seven years old, but she’s my hero. She’s a seven-year-old Magic player, a regular on the US GP circuit. Her goal is to be the youngest player to reach day two of a GP, and I have absolutely no doubts that she’ll achieve that. She is the future. Get on board.

Chandra Nalaar

Because COME ON.

chandra flamecaller


Actually…now that I think about it, literally all of you.

Y’ALL. (I wish I could stop saying y’all. Nobody says y’all in East Scotland.

It’s never easy going into a space that’s traditionally been aimed at a male population (look at some of the early cards and some of the current playmats if you need convincing), especially as it’s a space that some men feel obliged to defend like it’s their firstborn and anyone who isn’t A Man is a dingo, but I like to think we’re slowly improving. And we’re doing it! Yay us.

Special shout out, by the way, to all the ladies in the UKISA judge community – Liz, Roisin, Erin, Sophie, and everyone else I have shamefully forgotten. We are killing it.


I am, as I’ve said multiple times, incredibly lucky to be part of a community that isn’t full of assholes. The Scottish community on the whole is 99% of the time is awesome – very inclusive, very willing to stand up and and shout if they see otherwise. We’re lucky here. But I’m aware, both from witnessing and hearing peoples’ stories, that the same isn’t true for all communities.

And that’s why I do why I do. It would be easy for me to let someone else take charge of what we do at Forth Magic, someone with more experience in tournament organising and judging, or someone with more experience competitively who’ve been to a variety of tournaments and seen what’s good and what’s not.

But I want people to see the fact that I’m here, I’m standing up and making myself the first person people likely interact with if they’re coming along to the events or just enquiring. If the fact that I’m there is enough to make even one woman feel better about coming along, that’s a success.


I stream on Twitch and I’m learning to be a better drafter on MODO. Sometimes my friends come round and we drink and draft. If you want to see my cats and hear a Scottish accent you can find me at Slam that follow button and you’ll see when I’m back on my bullshit. PEACE.

Top Ten Tuesday | Favourite Book Quotes

I’ve been out of the Top Ten Tuesday habit recently. Two and a half snow days last week has thrown my sense of time completely, so I’m currently hashing out a post on my lunch break. I only have six, because that’s all I have time for. Fight me.

…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” – On The Road (Jack Kerouac)

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. – The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Sleep tight, ya morons! – The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)

  • I was about as miserable at school as Holden Caulfield was, so I scrawled this on the back of my shirt in Sharpie on my last day. I thought I was so cool.

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know. – Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)

They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again. – A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

  • This description of Scrooge’s house tickled me to death when I read the book over Christmas. I was never a big fan of the classics but some of Dickens’ lines in this were glorious.

Can I help you?” said the footman. Richard had been told to fuck off and die with more warmth and good humour. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)

  •  I LOVE THIS LINE. I love Neil Gaiman.


So that was a rather hasty TTT effort. What epic quotes have I missed? How’s your Tuesday going? Will I get my finger out over the weekend and learn what day it is? Why is it so cold? Talk to me!


Book Spotlight | Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

wing jones

Oh, Wing Jones. For months you sat on my bookshelf, a purchase from the Edinburgh Book Festival, a signed copy I fell upon the same way I did my first bowl of mashed potatoes when I had norovirus.

I can’t believe I had solid gold sitting in my living room since last summer.

I don’t throw the word “perfect” around a lot, but as someone who’s an aspiring YA author, when I eventually manage to string enough words together to constitute a book, god I hope it’s even half as good as Wing Jones. It’s perfect. It’s got everything: romance, drama, an overcoming the odds story, loveable characters from all walks of life. Wing has to overcome adversity on a phenomenal scale, whether it’s the tragedy that strikes her family or her own personal tribulations, and she does it in such a very human very that turns into something else entirely. You feel Wing’s exhilaration in every single line on every page.

It’s a story about finding who you are and what you love and how it can free you, and I wish I’d had it when I was in school. This should find its way into the hands of every young person.

Plus Wing’s grandparents are my favourite and I would windmill slam money down for a book where they go on adventures with each other.

Rating: *****

Music Spotlight | Grimes – Belly of the Beat

I was introduced to Grimes during the Jukebox Game in the car on the way to GP Liverpool last year. The Jukebox Game is how I like to handle the music choices on long road trips with multiple car occupants: everyone takes a turn picking a song and I man the Spotify account. Dave asked for Belly of the Beat, and I was HOOKED.

I love Grimes’ voice and how she can go from cute to aggressive to plain weird in the space of one song, but Belly of the Beat is ethereal and floaty sounding and a hard shot through my veins speaking right to my soul at the same time.

“And you never get sad, and you never get sick, and you never feel weak…”

Drop into my comments and let’s talk about Art Angels pls.

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Hooray! I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction. Thanks Malanie! (And sorry it’s taken me approx. 78 years to do this, I’ve been dying on the couch.)



  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Malanie’s Questions

Name the first book that comes to mind GO

Solitaire by Alice Oseman. It’s the first one in my eye level when I look up!

What’s your favorite TV show of all time?

Doctor Who. It jumped the shark in a BIG way when Stephen Moffat took over but let’s talk about series one through four for a second. Or all day. Whichever you prefer.

Who is your favorite author?

JK Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alison Croggon.

Do you read ARCs? Favorite ARC you’ve ever received?

I don’t, but I’ve signed up to Netgalley – and then promptly fell ill, so now that I feel like a human again I’m going to actually look into it.

3 book characters who are most like you


  • Hermione Granger – likes learning stuff, spends a lot of her time exasperated with her friends, has a cat.
  • Mia in the Princess Diaries series, because she was the most relatable character I’ve ever found for high school me.
  • Steffi in A Quiet Kind of Thunder, because while I wasn’t COMPLETELY mute in school, I certainly didn’t talk an awful lot until I got to probably my final year. Anxiety, yo.

Favorite animal?

Giraffes. They’re tall and goofy looking. Relatable.

Favorite book character?

Probably Cadvan from the Pellinor series.

Which book do you wish you could forget so you could reread it for the first time again?

The Gift by Alison Croggon. Honestly by this point I’ve likely hyped it up so much that anyone else picking these books up will be like “what is this girl on”.

Favorite book as a child?

I grew up with Harry Potter. The first book came out when I was seven, so I can barely remember what my favourite was before Harry!

Book you wish would be turned into a movie or TV show

The Pellinor series by Alison Croggon…but I know that I have such high expectations that it would have to be almost unrealistically good.

Book you’re really really looking forward to in 2018

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, On The Come Up by Angie Thomas.

My questions:

  1. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
  2. What song are you listening to right now? (Or what was the last song you listened to?)
  3. What’s your favourite quote from a book ever?
  4. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled? (And what was it like!)
  5. Favourite pizza topping?
  6. What top three things do you look for in a book?
  7. What’s the first book you can ever remember reading? (Or having read to you!)
  8. What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
  9. Is there a book out just now that you haven’t read but are DYING to?
  10. If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
  11. What made you decide to start blogging?

I nominate:

Kristina @ Books and Dachshunds

Luna @ Bookish Luna

Taylor & Missy @ Frayed Books

Charlotte @ Charlotte Somewhere

Heidi @ This Is My Bookshelf

Golden Books Girl

Amy @ Tomes with Tea

Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blogs

Lauren @ Northern Plunder

Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks

Liz @ Travel in Retrospect

Book Review | The Fandom by Anna Day

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands …

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

the fandom

As a solid fandom-goer from my very early teens, I knew I was going to read The Fandom before I’d even read the synopsis. Such was my excitement that I dispatched my mother to Blackwell’s in Edinburgh to pick it up for me. Thanks Ma.

The Fandom is a book I’d loved to have written for a hundred different things, a story set inside a world that’s been lived in through fanfiction and YouTube videos and hyperactive conversations. It’s a hot plot twist in what has the potential to be a dystopian story all on its own, with characters you’re never sure you can trust and a really grubby, grimy setting.

I loved the fact that even in the middle of peril Violet et al were still fangirling at recognising moments from canon, and discovering new things in the fabric of their favourite story, which is 100% what I’d be doing in her situation. In fact, I spent a lot of the time while I was reading it thinking about how well I’d do if I was sucked into the world of some of my fandoms, and the answer was almost universally “be picked off in about five minutes”. Still, I can dream.

Overall, 4/5 stars – I’m going to stop reading hype for books because it taints the way I read them, and nine times out of ten I end up being disappointed. But I really liked The Fandom, and I loved the idea of fandom becoming reality and vice versa, and my heart was left bereft. I won’t spoil it by saying why – if you want to weep with me, find me on Twitter and let’s hook up.

Oh, and Katie’s insults. Speaking right to my soul, girl.

Rating: ****

Book Review | The Gilded Cage by Vic James

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power – and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters – the magical elite – you owe them ten years of service.

Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them.

Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .

gilded cage

Free books are my jam (thanks to Sarah from Sarah Withers Blogs for the heads up that this was the iBooks free book of the week) but I don’t expect very much. Which means I’m pleasantly surprised when I become actively invested in them.

The Gilded Cage reminded me in a lot of ways of the Doctor Who episode Turn Left – a dark, alternate parallel of our own world. For most of the characters I either wanted to put them in my pocket to keep them safe or push them off a cliff, but in a chunky number of cases I’m not sure which. There’s magic and rebellion and some REALLY dark politics – for real,  some of the reviews I’ve seen cite the political aspects of the book as a reason they DNF’d it, but take it from someone who will windmill slam a book closed if it gets political and turgid: it’s not anywhere near that bad. Vic James makes it enough to be interesting without it being a slog.

Solid 4/5 stars, with the missing star purely because at some points I didn’t quite jam with the style of writing and the romantic subplot did absolutely nothing for me – but that’s not really the fault of the book, and I’ll definitely be continuing the series.

Rating: ****

Kids TV: the Hall of Fame

Last week, Sean decided to point out I look like Oakey Doke. Fortunately for him, we’ve already put down money on the wedding.

oakie doke

It got us both talking about what programmes we used to watch when we were younger, and we had a great time watching YouTube videos of 90s kids TV shows and reminiscing. My mum used to tape a load of these while I was at nursery. Here are some of the best.

I’m not over the fact that I know people who are younger than most of these, by the way. Stop it.


This one is technically after my time, proven after a debate with Sean where he was convinced it was broadcast in the early nineties. (First broadcast in 2002, FYI fact fans.) When my mum worked in early years education we used to record it so she could bring it in for the kids, and we all inevitably ended up watching it from beginning to end.

So innocent and pure. Plus Archie lived in a pink castle, which is the most extra thing I’ve ever seen and I love it.

Come Outside

The Original G. If you didn’t watch this I strongly suggest you find it online and acquaint yourself. Lynda Baron flying around in a spotty plane with a dog? Making up songs about everything? Teaching a generation of children how washing up brushes and teapots are made? Hell yes I’ll come outside, but only if I can hang out with Pippin.

Fireman Sam

I just about choked on my tongue when Sean told me he’d never seen Fireman Sam. He’s always on the scene! How is this possible?

Fireman Sam endures today, but like several kiddie TV shows of years gone by it’s been given the CGI animation treatment. Can someone with kids who’s watched the new ones confirm if Norman is still a little shit?

Fun fact: when I was very small the line “Someone could be in a jam” confused me. I pictures someone stuck inside a jam jar.

Fun fact II: there was an episode where they felled some trees and because I was little I shouted “timla” instead of “timber”. My parents still bring it up.

Camberwick Green

Here is a box. A musical box!

Will it be the excellently- named Windy Miller, owner of yep, you guessed it – the windmill? Or PC McGarry Number Four Five Two? Or probably-wouldn’t-get-away-with-calling-him-that-now Paddy Murphy the baker?

See also: Trumpton (no, not the US) and Chigley for further adventures in the same vein.

Joshua Jones

Now I’m going to hold my hands up here and say that I don’t remember a HUGE amount of significant detail about Joshua Jones. I only ever saw three or four episodes but for some reason the theme tune has stuck with me for 25 years, to the point where I could have sung it for you on demand.

I found the opening credits on YouTube and showed Sean, and he kept saying “I’m SURE I’ve seen this. But I’ve never heard of Joshua Jones! But I recognise that character!”

Eventually it clicked that he’d been watching it in Gaelic. He doesn’t speak Gaelic.


I have inevitably forgotten a true classic, so please shout at me in the comments with your favourite. Unless it’s Brum. Screw Brum. Creepy cars are not my jam.

Disney music: the PBPR Hall of Fame

Disney is universal. Enchanting to children and adults alike. Setting unrealistic expectations for men. I personally am thoroughly disappointed every time I remember that Sean didn’t morph from a large beast to a man before my very eyes.

A big appeal of the Disney movies is the music. Even if you loathe the films (does anyone?) you can’t deny that the music is incredible. Let’s go on a little adventure through some of the best examples.


First things first: Tarzan is the most underrated Disney film of all time. Tarzan should be on every list for everything. It’s got BRIAN BLESSED in it, for the love of god, why isn’t this film HUGE.


It’s also got my favourite soundtrack. The Phil Collins fandom might the most uncool, but please join me in here, because the music is worthy of inclusion in every Disney playlist.

It’s the best. Fight me.

The Lion King

This doesn’t even need any text.


Let’s get down to business. (To defeat…THE HUNS.)

Make A Man Out of You is the obvious classic, but the rest are pretty spot on as well. What do we want? (Reply in the comments or I’ll be sad.)

Oliver and Company

Oliver and Company is great. It’s got dogs, a tiny kitten, all of the above starring in a retelling of Oliver Twist. What’s not to like?

If that wasn’t enough to sway you, the dog version of the Artful Dodger is voiced by Billy Joel. Yep. Plus Better Midler is in it. And Huey Lewis sings the song at the start. YEP.



As well as being the prettiest of the Disney films, this ramped its way up to number two in my all time favourites list. The soundtrack is QUALITY. It’s got Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson singing You’re Welcome. It’s got that weird Shiny song, which didn’t float my boat (heh) at all when I first saw the movie, but it’s grown on me.

This is my favourite, though.


When you get past the accents of questionable authenticity (“It’s jist ma booooow”) the soundtrack to Brave is AMAZING. I love Julie Fowlis, so imagine how here for Brave I was when I found out she was singing on the soundtrack.


Find me a song that’s more fun to belt out than BLESS MY SOUL, HERC IS ON A ROLL, PERSON OF THE WEEK IN EVERY GREEK OPINION POLL. This is Sean’s favourite Disney film, and another one that sadly seems to have slipped into the depths of obscurity compared to some of the others.

Sean will tell me off for not putting Go the Distance in here but I DON’T CARE, the vase/vase line in this makes me laugh.

Movies that I deliberately didn’t feature, before everyone goes “But what about THIS one:

  • Frozen. Overrated.
  • Dumbo. I have a Pavlovian response to Baby Mine in that I crumple into a wreck whenever I hear it.
  • Robin Hood and Pocahontas. NEARLY made it though.
  • Any of the Princessy Classic Ones. Purely because they’ve only got like two songs per movie and that on that basis alone they have flawless soundtracks and it’s not fair.
  • Beauty and the Beast. Forgive me, Angela Lansbury.
  • The Little Mermaid. Forgive me, my sister.

Please flame me and tell me what’s not on here that should be. Thanks!