I say ‘January favourites’, but really I mean ‘favourites over the winter period up till now’ because I haven’t done a recap in ages and also I have no concept of time so can’t remember when exactly I did stuff. It’s all good!
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse I am late to the party on yelling about this movie online but please know that it was SO GOOD and I enjoyed it SO MUCH. I just adore all the Spiderpeople. Although I love a number of superhero characters, most superhero movies (except for the more recent Black Panther & Spiderman: Homecoming) are somewhat likeable but still kind of…meh for me. I guess I’m just not that really into blowing things up? Spiderverse represented exactly the kind of joy, excitement & wonder that I want to feel when I’m watching a superhero movie. I can’t wait to watch it again.
Foreign Objects by Georgie West I have been extremely blessed by music this month, oh my goodness! This album is so gorgeous and brings so many different things — soft guitars! great lyrics! surprising harmonies! straight up tunes! beats! — whilst still being cohesive. You should definitely check it out ASAP,
Human EP by Dodie I love all of the songs on this EP so much!! Aah! I especially loved getting to hear a produced version of She after all this time. :’)
The Inheritance I saw this play at the start of this month and it was a real Experience. Despite its length it was, somehow, extremely watchable, perhaps due to the excellent acting. As time goes on I’m beginning to feel as though I perhaps liked it more for that experience than for the play itself? It was just so good to be present in an audience of many other LGBTQ+ people, immersed in a queer story. But it wasn’t perfect play, and I was frustrated by the way it presented a very particular white male cis experience of being gay as The Definitive Queer Experience. I’m glad I went, though.
Catullus I…am into poetry again? It’s so nice to be back? I got out a book of Catullus from the library with parallel texts (is that how I say it? where it has translation on one side and the original Latin besides) and it was GOOD. Even if I was confused by some of the translation choices.
BBC Les Mis Okay, I’m probably going to have to write a whole post on this one because I have some…Opinions… But honestly I’m overall enjoying it. I see many people in the online fandom getting angry about it and I totally get that, but I like watching the show despite its issues.
Company I was lucky enough to see a few excellent shows this holiday, one of which was the Sondheim musical Company. This version was reimagined to see the wonderful Rosalie Craig playing Bobbie in the main role. I hadn’t actually listened to Company before seeing this so it was wonderful to go in and be like…OH this is so good and it’s going to be a new obsession. Also the production was really nice!! What good lighting!
It was so great to do a recap post again! Somehow I’ve managed to find the time among the swathes of schoolwork that I am once again consumed by. Over the holidays I seemed to have forgotten how much it really was. Coming up on the blog this month I have the next edition of Monthly Mixtape and a GCSE music revision tips post so look out for those! 🙂
have you watched/read/listened to any of these? how was your january? are you looking forward to anything next month?
All the way back in 2016, when the new TV adaptation of Les Mis was first announced, I wrote a post called 7 Things I Want to See in BBC Les Mis. It’s taken a LONG time, but finally we’re getting some more news about it, and it’s due to air at the start of 2019. And my Les Mis obsession seems to be rising from the dead, because now I check for the imdb page and talk to people about it all the time. SORRY.
Anyways. I thought it would be fun to revisit my old wishlist, see what’s changed, and add some of my current thoughts on information we had so far. (Because I can only jabber on at my IRL friends so much. They get a bit tired.) I hope that it’ll still be entertaining even if you’re not quite a Les Mis obsessive like me. Although it’s been like 3 years now since I read Les Mis itself so I have to admit, I don’t remember it as clearly as I could in 2016…
But before I look back through my list, I want to talk a bit about my thoughts so far!
Firstly, it’s written by Andrew Davies, who did War & Peace and Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth). In the interviews I’ve read with him, he seems to very vehemently hate the musical, describing it as a ‘shoddy farrago’. He seems to really want to show people that Les Miserables is a lot more than that, etc. etc. Personally I enjoy the musical and the book so, you know. We’ll see what comes of his desire to show the true character of Les Mis. I do hope that it means he’ll get some good stuff in there but who knows.
Next, the main cast — Dominic West as Valjean, David Oyolewo as Javert, Lily Collins as Fantine, Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar as the Thenardiers, Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius, Erin Kellyman as Eponine and Joseph Quinn as Enjolras.
Frankly, I barely know any actors, so I don’t have much to go on, but I’m super excited for David Oyolewo as Javert! And I didn’t realise until just now that Dominic West played Jonathan in the movie Pride (it’s a great movie, you should go watch it) and now I feel more excited. I’ve written more in deetail about some of the castings below, in my response to what I wrote in 2016.
The cast list hasn’t been updated loads, but there are a few more characters lurking on the IMDb page if you care to look. We’ve also been seeing some pictures from filming, which I’m greatly enjoying — you can see updates on this BBC Les Mis updates tumblr if you so wish.
Here’s some pictures of the set for the Barricade, with all the French flags out:
However, I was saddened by the announcement that it won’t be airing until 2019. PLEASE, I NEED THIS TO HEAL MY SOUL. Maybe to heal my soul through raging at it. Who knows.
1. Valjean’s James Bond convent escape 2. Nuanced Cosette 3. Non-hunky Enjolras 4. Les Amis de L’ABC 5. Thenardier’s botched robbery (starring Marius) 6. Marius being a nerd 7. The Thenardier family
I mean. I still agree with these. P L E A S E I crave Cosette content so badly! Ellie Bamber seemed cool in an interview I read so…? Who knows? In reference to Enjolras: I don’t know anything about this actor, but they should have cast a black actor. (Read this excellent thread by @JEHANCOURF on twitter and also check out their zine, The Case For Black Enjolras.) Archie Madekwe who plays Courfeyrac seems GREAT though, I’m so excited to see him.
For a while I was Very Stressed that they had cut out the Amis (since the IMDB cast list doesn’t have many of them on) but then we saw some set pictures and it looks like they’re at least present. Although there was also an interview with someone who said they were playing an unnamed student extra, so maybe not.
I mean, I have no idea whether they’ll put in any of the scenes I mentioned here. (And yes, I do know that there are many adaptations out there with various different scenes in! But, you know.) In addition, to this, I really would like to see this adaptation maintain the theme of social change and revolution. Yes, it’s an excellent story, but that message is also a key part of it!
I’ve just spent AGES doing practice Chemistry paper so excuse me if my brain is a little tired. Ah well. In the meantime, I desperately await more news and continue to check the IMDb page every day. Oops.
do you like les mis? what do you want to see in the adaptation? what’s your favourite tv adaptation?
This April marked two years since I fell down the rabbit hole of Les Miserables, and by extension many other musicals. TWO YEARS. It feels like a long time ago. I’ve changed a lot since then. Les Mis became, and still is, a really important part of my life!
Thus, to mark the occasion I bring you my guide to Les Mis, for people who know nothing about Les Mis. I am currently listening to the musical and I am READY FOR THIS.
so what is it???
Les Mis refers to the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, covering a failed revolution and a reformed convict in 19th-century Paris, and its subsequent adaptations, most notably the Broadway/West End musical.
les misérables, the book
Our journey begins with the novel Les Misérables-with-the-e-acute novel by French author Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The main characters are:
Jean Valjean, an escaped convict leading a life of extreme coincidences. Stole a loaf of bread.
Javert,the policeman hunting him for breaking parole. He was born with scum like you. Lawful but…well. Misguided.
Fantine, a kind & lovely girl who got abandoned by this guy and ended up in prostitution.
Cosette, her blessed daughter and my wife. Sappy, but hates not being told stuff. Deserved better from the musical.
Marius Pontmercy, a rich boy who get thrown out by his family and then lives as a poor student in Paris. He’s an absolute nerd and he loves Cosette. One time he hit his head for two hours against a tree.
Eponine Thenardier, a girl born into a not good family but doing her absolute best to kick your ass and overcome her unrequited crush on Marius.
Also some students called Les Amis de l’ABC. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll probably only know their leader, Enjolras. (He’s the guy in red.) However, if you go into the book internet fandom, you’ll probably find it focuses more around these students. If you only know the musical you probably haven’t heard of them, but never fear. I’ll cover them in more detail later.
It’s a pretty long book, but I do think if you love Les Mis then it’s worth it! Lots of people call it The Brick due to…well, its very brick-like nature as a book. (That is to say, it’s very long.) Other things you might need to know are the Infamous Waterloo Section, which is an essentially an essay about Waterloo, and the time that Valjean broke out of a convent in a grave. There are many different translations, ranging from modern (Donougher, ose) to old-timey but free (Hapgood). You can even do a Les Mis tour of Paris in which you visit the original sites. DON’T WORRY, I’M COMING TO THE STUDENTS.
les amis de l’abc
Yeah, I’m giving them a separate section because I LOVE THESE KIDS. The main things you need to know are that they have an extremely minimal/sometimes even non-existent part in the musical and…still quite a comparatively small part in the book. HOWEVER THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOLICALLY. (Or so I hear.)
Anyway. They all like jokes, and their name is a French pun (for l’abaisse which is apparently like the abased/degraded, thanks internet). They have so many French puns. I don’t even understand them most of the time. From the sometimes few information Victor Hugo gives us, the fandom has sort of interpreted personalities, which somehow absorb into one’s brain through Collective Fandom Knowledge, which is pretty epic.
Enjolras, who as Victor Hugo goes to great pains to tell us about is Very Very Handsome. His girlfriend is France. (I’m telling you. This is a canon joke.)
Combeferre is very chill, but will outsmart you. His main book attribute is just be SUPER SMART.
Courfeyrac sometimes acts like a douchebag but has a good heart. (This part is also actually canon. Maybe paraphrased, but.) Probably would be the lead singer of an indie band if he was alive today. Ray of annoying sunshine. These first three make up the ‘triumvirate’, which seems to basically just be a fancy word for group of 3.
Grantaire, the drunk cynic who goes on long drunk rants about intellectual things that I don’t understand. In unrequited love with Enjolras. (I don’t want to spoil you, and you know, interpretation and all, but there are some pretty gay moments.)
Jean Prouvaire, or Jehan, is the shy poet who actually has Many Opinions, probably would wear a flower crown.
Bahorel, who would probably either get in a fight or do other dumb stuff for the memes.
Feuilly, an optimistic orphan who works super hard. (Not actually a student, but still part of the group.)
Bossuet, whose name is based on another obscure French joke and can’t grow any hair. Always smiling but has terrible luck. Also known as Lesgle, L’aigle de Meaux… I mean, I don’t eve know how we got here.
Joly, a hypochondriac medical student who is a cinnamon roll.
Musichetta, a ‘superb and literary girl’ whom Joly is wild over. She can wreck you.
Oh yeah, Marius is also part of this gang but he’s definitely not the leader as the musical suggests. He’s a TERRIBLE revolutionary.
Excuse me whilst I feel a bit emotional here. This hasn’t included Eponine, Gavroche, and Cosette, who I sometimes group with them just for ease even if they’re not technically of the ABC, but OH WELL. MY KIDS. ;-; And just for good measure, here is an amusing post of “Les Amis as stuff the students living next door to me have done”.
les mis, the musical
This is probably the more well-known and accessible form of Les Mis. It’s a very popular sung-through musical now, but when it was released the critics were like OMG NO IT’S TOO SAPPY AND TRAGIC. I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? are among the best-known songs. The Confrontation, a duet between Valjean and Javert, is also very much a jam in my personal opinion. However, the musical does cut a lot of the book, in particular Les Amis, the details of Valjean’s life and Cosette being an absolute badass.
Some things you should know about various different forms and productions:
Other cool things to watch/listen to are 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary, although a word of warning: Nick Jonas plays Marius is 25th anniversary and he is nOT GOOD.
The 2012 movie made the musical a lot easier to follow than just listening to a cast album, which is great! Personally I think that after listening to cast recordings, the musical singing definitely isn’t as good *coughs*Javert*coughs* but you can get a solid idea of the story. (I saw this before I saw anything else.) I actually think Eddie Redmayne is a solid Marius. Sadly they cut some parts from the musical, but. Grantaire has a veeery small part in this but his actor George Blagden appears to be, like, a complete Les Mis nerd? which I still find amazing? (Like, is that an Enjolras/Grantaire fansong on Youtube? IS IT??)
It did produce this TRULY EXCELLENT VIDEO, which I am just going to embed for good measure:
I’ve also listened to some of a Spanish version, Los Miserables and I liked it a lot! I still think this version or Red and Black is super excellent. (I’ve fallen into the hole of watching Les Mis in different languages, and now I’m watching Daniel Diges in Les Mis Brasil? I mean, who even knows anymore.
I haven’t watched many Les Mis Broadway things since of course I’m nearer to the West End production, but this performance at the Tonys is wonderful! I particularly think Eponine, Marius, Enjolras, and Valjean are great. ❤ (That was like…half the people haha. THEY’RE ALL GREAT.)
There’s probably a lot more stuff I could say, to be honest, and I will undoubtedly regret not putting something in later, but OH WELL. Here’s an In The Heights/Les Mis mashup.
There are, of course, many other adaptations, including several movies, radio plays, and TV series, and it’s very easy to fall into the hole of internet searching. As you can perhaps see by my myriad of links and 1.5k post on this topic. (Me, a Les Mis fan? I mean, maybe a bit.)
do you like musicals? what do you think about les mis? is there a particular fandom which is important to you?
As an eternal and enthusiastic Les Mis fan, I was EXTREMELY excited to hear of some news to liven up the fandom. They’re going to adapt the book into a miniseries for TV! It’s supposed to be in the style of the recent War & Peace TV show (Andrew Davies writes both) and…well, even it’s only going to be airing in 2018 I can still be excited. 😛
Although I am a fan of the musical, it did miss out so many wonderful parts of the book. And the singing in the movie could be pretty terrible in places. Not looking at Russell Crowe. So I’m looking forward to having the extended time period to explore all the different parts of the (admittedly very hefty). I thought I’d compile all the things that I REALLY want to see in this TV show if it should go ahead! (Because previously I have seen projects die, and it is very sad.)
1. Valjean’s James Bond convent escape
Although the musical does feature a brief convent scene, it completely misses out the insane/badass escape. Whilst escaping from Javert, Valjean and Cosette land themselves in a convent. By some stroke of luck the gardener is the very same man Valjean saved from being crushed by a cart many years before. Anyway, the gardener says they can stay by pretending to be his brother and niece but he has to sneak them out again so they can be seen coming in through the front door. Cosette is smuggled out in a basket, but Valjean is sneaked out in a coffin (pretending to be a dean nun) is almost buried alive due to the fact that the new gravedigger is more sober than expected. The gardener actually thinks he is dead for a bit. Yep.
2. Nuanced Cosette
I am always angry that people think Cosette is a pushover, but to be fair her character in the musical is not nearly as complex as the novel. There she is someone to be taken care of, but in the book she’s basically as active as she could be considering the restrictions of society at the time. She secretly courts and encourages Marius for several months without the approval of her father! She knows when her husband and father are keeping secrets from her! Cosette is AWESOME, everyone.
3. Non-hunky Enjolras
Musical Enjolras is way more handsome and likable. I apologise to Aaron Tveit, because he seems like a pretty good guy. But…he’s not Enjolras. Victor Hugo literally describes Enjolras as looking like a teenage girl. (There is also the recurring joke of his weirdly detailed description of Enjolras’ face, but anyway.) THIS GUY IS JUST A SCARY REVOLUTION NERD. France is his life, but he’s actually the only child of rich parents. He is not a macho dude who is too old to play the role. *coughs*
4. Les Amis de L’ABC
Les Amis are basically the bulk of the Les Mis fandom, so we’d all be very pleased to see more of them. (Since they’re barely named in the musical.) I need all the stupid puns. I need the revolution jokes. I need the camaraderie and the individuals and that one time Bossuet sacrificed his place in law school because he was filling in for Marius. I need Enjolras and Grantaire’s dying holding hands. I NEED IT ALL PLS.
5. Thenardier’s botched robbery (starring Marius)
Basically everyone in Les Mis is connected by some coincidence or another, to be honest. Marius thinks his father was ‘saved’ by Thenardier, who was actually looting corpses, so feels a weird sense of loyalty to him when he tries to kidnap and ransom Valjean. (The Thenardiers live next to Marius at this point.) Valjean ends up escaping but Thenardier & his cronies are arrested by Javert. IT’S JUST ALL COMPLETELY CRAZY. Another James Bond moment.
6. Marius being a nerd
Marius is also not a hunk. MARIUS IS A COMPLETE NERD. He purposefully rejects all of his super rich grandad’s money. He accidentally raves about Napoleon in a room full of revolutionaries who hate Napoleon. He swoons over Cosette for like 3 months but is too scared to talk to her. He finds Valjean’s hankie and sleeps with it under his pillow because he think’s it belongs to Cosette. (Probably smells it with his ‘passionate nostrils’.) There are so many more things I could say… To be honest, Marius is just a complete smol cinnamon roll who is utterly useless at being a revolutionary.
7. The Thenardier family
Remember Gavroche, the tiny kid from the musical? He’s Eponine’s brother. I am eternally angry that this what not included in the musical, because HELLOO. I seriously need the Thenardier siblings taking care of each other. Eponine also has a sister, Azelma, and two younger brothers. Gavroche takes these two boys under his wing without even knowing they’re related which y’know is pretty great. (Gavroche is in general pretty great.)
So, um, writing this might have accidentally drawn me back into the darkest depths of the Les Mis hole. Whoops…? But now I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS SHOW and you are probably never going to hear the end of it. 😀
are you a fan of les mis too? would you include the same things i picked? are you planning to watch the tv show? (okay that’s pretty far into the future but SHH. :P)
YES. ‘Tis I, the Very Very Beginner Cosplayer, presenting you today with an tutorial! No, really: I know that I’m not an experienced sewer. But I have made an actual tangible costume, and whilst I was making this I desperately wanted a tutorial. So I thought I’d take you through how I made my Jehan cosplay, and hopefully it can help any of you if you’re a beginner to sewing like me!
Yes… um, more Les Mis. If you didn’t already know I discuss it incessantly. I’M SORRY TO THOSE OF YOU WHO MIGHT BE FED UP. Most of this tutorial is going to be a basic cosplay waistcoat, though, so it’s pretty all-purpose. You can use it for any of Les Amis apart from Enjolras, and any other costume that requires a waistcoat. (I call it a cosplay waistcoat because I really don’t recommend you use it as an actual waistcoat. Whilst it may look good to the viewer, it doesn’t have any lining or anything.)
1. design your costume
This is more important if you’re cosplaying a character from a book. Cosplaying book characters is super fun because you get a lot more freedom in your design, but you do have less visual references. Jehan’s clothing isn’t really mentioned in the book (except that he dresses badly!) so I decided to go with his costume from the 2012 movie. I also looked a bit at the photo book I got when I saw the musical and some other Jean Prouvaire cosplays.
I decided to cut the jacket so that I didn’t overheat at the con. My final list of costume elements was:
red, white and blue cockade
shoes in similar shade to trousers
I made my cockade (the little ribbon badge thing) and waistcoat, but I sourced everything else from Amazon (wig, necktie) or my own wardrobe. You’ll probably realise that the flower crown isn’t very accurate to the costume, but Jehan is a flower child and I LOVE FLOWER CROWNS. So I wanted to wear a flower crown. As you can see below my trousers and shoes ended up being brown instead of cream, but the only other thing that changed from my original list was the ribbon I used to tie up my hair.
That was a rather broad step, but ah well. To make my cockade I bought a length of red, white and blue striped ribbon, and the followed a mixture of tutorials from American Duchess and Yarn Blarn. I just sewed on the button and safety pin at the end rather than using a glue gun, and I found that ironing as I made the creases was a great help. It’s not the most perfect cockade ever, but hey!
Now onto the waistcoat. This part’s going to be the longest — I think I’ll get into sub-steps. 😛
1. Cut out your fabric
First of all you need to make or find a pattern. I drew around a waistcoat of my father’s and shrunk it with some help, but I do recommend you buy one instead. If you are drawing your own pattern, make sure each side is the same size: I used two front and one back panels, three in total. If you’re making lapels make sure you leave some fabric for those. Then, draw around the patters onto your fabric and cut everything out.
2. Sew the panel edges together
TRUST ME. This part is actually super easy, and it’s really cool to be able to wear your waistcoat after it. You’re going to be sewing these seams on the inside, so turn your panels the wrong way around, press them together, and literally just sew along the edge. (Don’t sew the two front ones together, though.) If you’re just doing 3 panels like me then you only need to sew two seams — between each of the front panels. You cans See that I had to sew along mine a couple of times to make mine fit smaller.
3. Turn in the collar
This is also pretty simple! Turning in makes sure that you’re left with a nice clean edge and stops the fabric from fraying. Just turn over a small amount of material at the collar into the inside of your waistcoat and sew along there.
4. Turn in the armholes
This is slightly more difficult, because these aren’t straight lines. It basically works like before, except you need to make sure you keep changing the amount you turn in as you go around otherwise your circle will become a straight line. Also, beware of fabric catching like it did mine!
5. Turn in the all the other sides
This is all around the front sides and the bottom. Just turn over some fabric into the inside of your waistcoat and sew along.
6. Do the lapels
If you’re making lapels measure and cut four triangles out from your fabric. if I made this again I’d do my lapels bigger, because once I turned them in they were a bit small. Sew the two pieces together along the short edge — inside out — and then you have two lapels! Place them along your main waistcoat and then just sew them on straight.
7. Do the buttons
(By the way, this part requires hand stitching.) My waistcoat is a slightly different design to the movie, and as you can see here I’ve got blue buttons. First of all lay your waistcoat down and line up the buttons on your preferred side. You can even use a ruler to check if they’re evenly space. Mark their space with a pencil. Then sew them on, criss-crossing the thread and going over it several times.
Then place the other side over and draw a vertical line in pencil over where the middle of your button is underneath. This is going to be your buttonhole, so make sure it’s lined up. Then cut a little further than your line — it needs to be a tiny bit bigger than the button itself.
Now blanket stitch all around that hole you cut. Your stitches need to be close together since they’re the only thing that will keep the material from fraying. But if you’re going to have your waistcoat done up all of the time it’s fine if they’re not pretty!
8. Darts (optional)
The darts are those little lines you see along the front that give the waistcoat some shaping. To make these just mark where you want the line to be, fold in a tiny bit of your fabric along the inside and sew along it. Make sure it’s the same on both sides!
YAY now all you have to do is cut off all the loose threads and your waistcoat is complete! 😀
3. accessories and makeup
Now it’s really up to you — you can choose which accessories and other clothes elements you need you’d like depending on your costume. Since my wig is ginger I did a makeup test for ginger-y eyebrows and freckles.
Aand that’s it! You have completed this cosplay tutorial. If you do try it then I’d love to see your photos. This Saturday I’m heading off to MCM London with my Jehan cosplay, and hopefully I’ll see some other Les Mis cosplayers there! 🙂 For my next cosplay project I’m thinking of either Baron von Gikkingen from Studio Ghibli or Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic. I SHALL KEEP YOU UPDATED.
do you go to any cons? ever cosplayed? are you going to mcm too?
If at this point you didn’t know I have an obsession with Les Mis: I HAVE AN OBSESSION WITH LES MIS. And very recently it was the one year anniversary of my becoming obsessed with Les Mis, so this is my celebration post! *showers confetti* Also, I was upset that a Hamilton book tag existed but a Les Mis one didn’t, so. I MADE ONE MWAHAHA. It may have resulted in me bursting into song/tears at random intervals whilst writing, but those are basically common occurences anyway ahaha 😛
I Dreamed a Dream
i had a dream my life would be so different from this hell i’m living: a book that didn’t live up to your high expectations
My mind is very much on French history as I write this post, so I’m going to with Liberty’s Fire by Lydia Syson. I WAS SO HYPED FOR THIS: Paris! Revolution! Queer characters in history! Alas, it was not to be. The romance bored me immensely, and it was such a significant part of the book that it basically ruined the whole thing for me.
i’ve hunted you across the years: your favourite literary duo
I just reread Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which is possibly one of my favourite books of all time. Obviously I have to choose Victor and Eli. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S GETTING A SEQUEL ASDFJKL. (Although Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton are a close second.
Castle on Cloud
i know a place where no one cries: a book you have read that made you comforted + happy
I think I could go for Fangirl, but I also adore Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun as a pick-me-up book. Fangirl feels like a warm hug, but IGYTS feels like a ray of rainbows and sunshine and happiness to be alive beaming down on me. It just makes me want to art and love and dance and asdfjkl I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK. I encourage absolutely everyone to read it. *nods*
Red and Black
red, the blood of angry men: a book you have an unpopular opinion about
I’m doing a shadowing group for the Carnegie medal right now, and there was a very…well, interesting opinion on Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Everyone complained that it was too boring and the satirical excerpts of Satchel and the indie kids would have made a better book. Which I thoroughly disagree with. It was just a mash-up of everything I hate in dystopian YA. *coughs* I don’t think The Rest of Us is for everyone, but personally I did love it!
Do You Hear the People Sing?
will you get up and follow me?: a book you read due to hype
I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt purely because I saw about a million aesthetic edits for it on Tumblr and I wondered what all the fuss was. I did like it, but…I was very confused for a lot of it. I think this post explains it quite accurately.
one more dawn, one more day: a book that kept you reading into the next chapter (and the next and the next)
I couldn’t tear myself away from A Gathering of Shadows from V.E. Schwab. I read it at every available opportunity, leading to various spillages of toothpaste and food on my Kindle. (That thing has seen a lot of wear and tear but it’s still alive.) IT WAS DEFINITELY WORTH IT. And it’s definitely worth choosing for my second Schwab book in this tag. Ahem.
On My Own
still i say there’s a way for us: a ship of yours that isn’t canon
I was planning on trying to…well, keep out of using Les Mis as actual answers for the Les Mis book tag. Since I thought it might provide a nice sense of irony. But I don’t think I can let this one go: Eponine/Cosette. I was reminded of my love for this ship when I saw this excellent Grease AU art and asdfjkl. WHY IS THERE NOT MORE GOOD FIC. Marius is an adorable dork, but Eponine and Cosette are like the even more adorable/scary power. I SHIP IT SO MUCH & I DON’T CARE IF THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THEIR RELATIONSHIP IN CANON AT ALL.
Drink With Me
let the wine of friendship never run dry: your favourite bookish friendship
Frances and Aled from Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence have SUCH an awesome friendship. (And yes, I am going to keep talking about this book forever and ever until you all read it because it’s literally so fabulous.) I feel like they’re so honest with each other! It’s great to be able to be yourself. Also, yay for girl-boy friendships that don’t turn into relationships. 🙂
Bring Him Home
let me die, let him live: that one character you will do anything to see protected
Agatha Wellbelove, obviously. I am distraught at the fandom hate she gets. My friend said she had the personality of a wet dishcloth. SHE IS AMAZING AND BADASS AND SHE IS NOT TAKING ANY OF SIMON’S CRAP. She’s a canonical Doctor Who geek. Support Agatha Wellbelove 2k16. (Although I’m still hoping Gansey doesn’t completely die in The Raven King. I’ll probably know by the time this is published, oh god.) (Edit: I can confirm this I have finished TRK as we speak but NO SPOILERS.)
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
now my friends are dead and gone: a character death you don’t think you’ll ever recover from (spoilers beware!)
Maybe Sam Cortland from Throne of Glass. Until Queen of Shadows I still had my theories that he somehow wasn’t dead, but… I don’t think so. And I know I said I’d keep Les Mis to a minimum, but obviously I’m going to have to talk about the very major character deaths of many significant characters in that. *coughs* WHY, VICTOR HUGO, WHY. Let’s just pretend those parts didn’t happen, okay? would it be cruel to put a GIF of everyone lying dead here yes it would
AND THAT IS THE END. *dramatically sweeps hands* Sadly I couldn’t do all the Les Mis songs, although I did start with almost that number so be impressed at my restraint. I’m not super sure who’s listened to/likes Les Mis, but I’m tagging my usual musical theatre partner in crime Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. (And here is my reminder that we wrote an excellent fandom war between Les Mis and Hamilton. Which I thoroughly recommend you read.) But feel totally free to do this tag, pick and choose questions + use the title image yourself! My only request is that you link back to this post and keep the image credit. 🙂
Just to recap, because I know how annoying it is to keep copy and pasting, the tag questions are:
I Dreamed a Dream: a book that didn’t live up to your high expectations
The Confrontation: your favourite literary duo
Castle on a Cloud: a book that comforts you
Red and Black: an unpopular bookish opinion
Do You Hear the People Sing?: a book you read because of hype
One Day More: a book that kept you reading into the next chapter (and the next and the next)
On My Own: a ship of yours that isn’t canon
Drink With Me: your favourite bookish friendship
Bring Him Home: that one character you will do anything to protect
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables: a character death you don’t think you’ll ever recover from
what books do you love? do you like any musicals? how would you answer my questions?
Two musicals, alike in revolution-ing… Which one is the better? Today I’m joined by the wonderful Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages to present to you the arguments for superiority of two fandoms featuring real historical revolutions: Les Misérables and Hamilton!
Hi there! It’s Evi from Adventuring Through Pages! Eve is amazing, and I’m so eager to do this with her. I am covering Les Misérables, as you can see, though it was kinda hard to choose because asldkhflsdk THEY ARE BOTH AMAZING. (Note: this is all, obviously, in good fun. We’re just both massive geeks. 😀 )
1. While Les Mis is set canonically later than Hamilton…we’ve been around a lot longer
Les Misérables was published in 1862, and the musical opened in Paris in 1980 – its very first performance – and has been around and loved since then. EVERYBODY has heard of Les Mis. It has performed in 44 countries, schools all over the place, and 347 cities. It’s even been made into the 2012 movie! So I think that we technically get authority credit for being so well-loved as compared to these young whippersnappers with their rapping and odd dance moves.
2.The characters are THE BEST
Okay, so maybe it doesn’t say it outright in the book…but Marius is a huge dork, Cosette is the literal cinnamon roll™, Valjean is the best father figure, and the Amis- even though they’re totally epic revolutionaries- all have so many intense personalities. Javert himself is one of the most complex characters on the planet- like, he’s a good guy…but he also wants to get rid of the main character, so that proves a bit difficult. The Thenardiers are an odd bunch as well, because literally everybody hates them but they are also massive comedic relief in the musical & movie. There’s more adorableness and less sass-and-relationship-drama-and-battle-issues-and-people-who-are-literally-the-phrase-“fight-me” as seen in Hamilton.
(Also tiny Cosette is adorable let’s face it she is)
3.The style of music is more classic and appeals to a larger crowd
While there is a lot to be said about Hamilton’s uniqueness in music style, Les Mis has a more classic, traditional style that appeals to a larger crowd than just those who enjoy rap/hip-hop. There are love songs, there are angry stirring fight-y songs, there are saddening but hopeful finale music, and there are dramatic self-reflection songs that may or may not result in you falling into a river. There’s music for everyone in it!
Also, one of my personal favorite things about Les Mis is how much there are common musical melodies that get repeated over and over in different ways. Leitmotifs are a common theme in musicals, I just think it’s really evident in Les Mis and that’s something I love.
4.The fandom is kind of ginormous and also really friendly
Because the Les Mis fandom has literally been around for nearly 200 years…it’s kind of huge. People of all ages and backgrounds love it (in fact, the musical has been translated into 22 different languages)! And because there’s not much to argue about, the fandom as a whole is really nice. There’s amazing fanart and funny textpost compilations and fan-made videos of people singing medleys. There is just so much to explore that Hamilton doesn’t yet have (though personally I hope it gets there).
(so maybe it attempts to consume your entire life hahaha it’s alright you’ll be okay)
5. You learn A LOT from the book
I…knew very little about French history and their failed revolutions and basically ANYTHING until I read Les Misérables. So it’s a history lesson AND a book of ginormous emotions and pretty words all in one! I mean, we have a book (Les Mis is separated into volumes, then books, then chapters) on France’s historical sewer systems. I know what every character looks like and how much Bishop Myriel spends on his charities and personal expenses (15,000 livres, if you’re curious). I know that Marius Pontmercy apparently has “well-opened and passionate nostrils” (Chapter One of the sixth book of the third volume). I know that Jean “Jehan” Prouvaire plays the flute. Essentially, if you take away the fact that it is the basis for the musical and all that, Les Misérables is the book every fan wants- an in-depth discussion of EVERYTHING that happened and WHO each character is and WHAT they like to do in their free time and EXACTLY HOW well-opened their nostrils are. It’s a ginormous companion book that isn’t, y’know, actually a companion book. Let it never be said that you don’t come away from Les Mis learning a lot.
This is Eve here! MAN AM I READY FOR THIS FIGHT. *cracks knuckles* Although like Evi said, I absolutely stress that I don’t actually want to physically fight you or anything. I love both fandoms like crazy. (As you all probably know by now!)
1. The music and lyrics are AMAZING
Hamilton is just an exceedingly well-composed musical. And exceedingly well-written. Not only does each character have their own musical motifs; they also have a distinctive style of lyrics. It makes my musical side extremely pleased. *sighs happily* Hamilton just has such a unique style of music and lyrics and sooo many fabulous songs asdfjkl. They’re CRAZY DAMN CATCHY.
JEFFERSON: I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit in
Watching him grabbin’ at power and kissin’ it
If Washington isn’t gon’ listen
To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference:
This kid is out!
Have you seen these lyrics?!??? I CAN’T EVEN IT’S SO GREAT.
2. It appeals to a wide audience
Musical theatre people? History people? Students? Teachers? HAMILTON APPEALS TO ALL THESE PEOPLE. And it’s also brought in a more mainstream audience — I mean, you could hear its songs on the radio. And hopefully you will. It’s so great to see people who wouldn’t normally be interested suddenly LOVE something. (I, at least, have developed a weird interest in US history. *coughs*) I think this fact — the transformation of what is for some an incredibly boring subject into something everyone can enjoy — shows something very special.
3. Lin Manuel-Miranda is super cool
Victor Hugo was…a bit of an egotistical asshole. He thought he was an amazing prodigy. He probably wrote his own memoir under his wife’s name. Obviously I don’t know LMM (the writer/Alex Hamilton) personally, but he just seems like a Genuinely Nice Guy™. He makes nerdy musical references! He responds and joins in which the fandom! He makes stupid vines ! He has also written another great musical called In the Heights! He and the cast give us Ham4Ham shows with cheap tickets and free fabulous music when they really, really don’t have to. It feels a lot better to like something made by wonderful people doing wonderful things.
4. The revolution survives, as do (some of) your faves
i’m not crying there’s just rain on my face Les Mis details the July uprising of 1832, which…well. It failed. Everyone died. Yep. Hamilton is about the War of Independence in the USA, which obviously didn’t fail because it’s still independent. This particular band of revolutionaries actually manages to get its act together and you’re not (immediately) left crying. I mean, everyone has to die in the end because this was 200 years ago and even asshole revolutionaries are not immortal. But within the musical, a decent amount of people survive! Hurrah for less emotional scarring!
5. Actual history = SO MUCH CANON
Les Mis was published in 1865? ALEXANDER HAMILTON WAS BORN IN 1755, SUCKERS. HA. Les Mis is based on a novel? So is Hamilton. (It was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography.) You can read historical documents; letters from Hamilton to Laurens, Jefferson to Madison, Angelica to Hamilton; the actual Federalist papers; years and years of historical analysis. You might even study him at school! (Alas, not I, but I live in hope.) Hamilton’s legacy is visible in the USA today. He’s on the 10$ bills. I refuse to believe there is more Les Mis fandom to explore, thanks.
thanks so much for writing this with me, evi! now it’s your turn: whose argument was more persuasive? which fandom do YOU choose?
1. Book events I’ve been to Waterstones SO MUCH over the summer. Over the last month, I went to see Patrick Ness, Jandy Nelson, and I spent an afternoon writing poetry with the lovely Aisling Fahey. IT WAS ALL FABULOUS OKAY BYE.
2. Les Mis For my birthday, I went to see it on stage at the West End and OH MY WAS IT FABULOUS. I mean, I spent a lot of time dissecting pretty much everyone’s perferomances, but it’s still the most fun I’ve had at the theatre in forever. THE SET WAS SO COOL AND IT MOVED AND THERE WAS A LIVE ORCHESTRA AND EVERYONE MY HEART. I mean, I have a whole document of post-show notes on my phone, so I might have to dedicate an actual post, but on the whole it was awesome. I thought Javert & Eponine were particularly excellent. ❤
3. Doctor Who So far, the new series isn’t overwhelming me, but I’m enjoying it more than the first few episodes of last season. It’s so nice to have something to watch on Saturday again.
4. The Matsuri The Matsuri is the Japanese festival that happens in London every year, and I had so much fun! It’s in Trafalgar Square at the moment — very near Waterstones, hehe — and I ate far too much food. And spent £10 on washi tape, because I am easiely seduced by cute things. Ahem. That’s something new… 😉
5. New blog design ‘Things are still being tweaked…’ says she, tweaking absolutely nothing. XD But I was very excited to unveil it, and I hope you like it! I spent longer than I’d like without a blog post — I didn’t spend all of those 10 or so days designing, I won’t lie — but I wanted to take some emotional time out too. 🙂 I’d forgotten how much time school takes up, eek.
Okay can we talk about the fact that Alice Oseman did a video interview? ❤ I am 98% sure I am shouting my fangirling into the void but SHE IS SO CUTE AND LOVELY AND litERallY I’M NOT SURE HOW I STILL HAVE THE STRENGTH TO TYPE EEP.
In the diary:
School started… It’s nice to be back, but at the same time really, really stressful. It was weird coming back from having all that free time to…nil.
I finished my Penelope Bunce cosplay! I can’t believe I, like, made something wearable? WHAT IS THIS MYTH YOU SPEAK OF? I’m BEYOND EXCITED to wear it for MCM in October, eep.
September 23rd was Bi Visibility Day, yay! (September was actually a pretty busy month, looking back on it.)
I’m, like, kind of getting good at putting bits of jelly contact lenses in? I think. I’m getting better, at least.
I’m supposed to be taking my Grade 5 Theory exam in November. I’m SCAREEED. *hides*
How was your month? Are you watching any TV shows right now? 🙂 (THE BAKE-OFF, GUYS, oh wow the drama. MY HEART.)
If you missed my incessant flailing over the last few months: I WENT TO PARIS!
If I ever learn French and aren’t bankrupt then I am SO MOVING TO PARIS. I’m honestly so in love with it – I’m still in love with London, but Paris. I just want to sit in a café eating croissants and writing sappy poetry in cursive script for ever and ever. The architecture makes me weep. It was just such a lovely place to visit – if you squinted, maybe some parts could be London, but it felt a lot more…warm. Like cartridge paper in comparison to printer paper? SEE, PARIS JUST MAKES ME WANT TO WRITE SAPPY POETRY. God.
I went with Girlguides i.e. a large group of fellow excitable girls – we usually go camping, but we went upmarket this year?! *shrugs* I’m not complaining. 😛 I was especially excited for this trip because I recently fell head over heels for Les Mis, and about half the book takes place in Paris. There’s a great Les Mis in Paris tour that I took with me, if you want to visit any of the sites in the book! My misplaced French patriotism was really having a moment. (VIVE LA FRAAAANCE!)
We took the Eurostar from St Pancras, where I stalked the bookshops and flailed because ‘Lauren Aquilina played on that piano’. My friend attempted to teach me backgammom, but it was the teensiest magnetic version known to man. I was an utter failure. By the time we arrived at the rather fancy youth hostel near Gare du Nord, I was a strange combination of ridiculously excited and dead tired? I don’t recommend it.
The first day was pretty much the only day we woke up promptly. We headed down to the river to look for the boat-bus. Whilst we were waiting, we took photos of all the love locks on the Passerelle de Solférino bridge. I got very excited by Paris architecture, because have you seen the buildings in Paris today. They’re so beautiful. Curling balconies feature greatly.
We took the BatoBus (what have they done to you, lovely French bateaux?!) > up to the Natural History Museum and wandered around the gardens eating lunch and getting lost. After that, we took our sweltering selves back on the horrific pun of a boat-bus and went up to the Eiffel Tower!
We didn’t actually go up the tower, but I took a ton of photos and basked in my general Paris feels. The fountain across the bridge started to look very inviting. Though you I’m sure you weren’t supposed to, we paddled in it anyway. I figured it was one of those things like climbing the lions in Trafalgar Square: you’re technically not supposed to, but everyone does it anyway.
The second morning was filled with a tour of the Paris sewers. That sounds gross but, ya know, feel some sympathy for Jean Valjean. (Thank you, Victor Hugo, for the lengthy description of the sewers using information from your friend Bruneseau.) (Actually, it’s a pretty great historical reference. And sewers can be exciting too.) They had a part of French Les Mis in the gift shop, so I took a photo of that next to the copy I was carrying with me. Everyone told me I was mad but I WAS I PARIS and I’d be darned if I wasn’t going to carry my book to weep over. (Anyway, all the best people are mad.)
We had lunch on some lovely mini forest island pontoons down the road, and I sang a lot of Les Mis. Afterwards we visited the Arc du Triomphe – weird stuff happened and we weren’t allowed to buy tickets as a group so we didn’t go up it, but I looked at all the fancy flowers and names. EEK IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. Later on we went to the fountain again, and most people got…well, utterly soaked. We were rocking the drowned rat look. 😉
However fashionable drowned rat look may be, isn’t actually that great for travelling on the Metro. It was really cool to see the Underground-y system somewhere else – THE CARRIAGES WERE DIFFERENT AND LIKE ACTUAL CARRIAGES and also you had to open the door yourself so, like, sometimes you could jump off whilst the train was still slightly moving. The wonderfully safe things we did. (I think the line we took back to our youth hostel wasn’t the most well-looked-after, though. Some of the others were less dishevelled.)
We might have missed going up the Arc du Triomphe but we did visit the Sacre Coeur! It’s at the top of a hill – as well as a horrific amount of steps, yeuch – so the view over Paris is pretty great. Another 300 steps up the tower and PANORAMA HEAVEN. There was also a weird amount of graffiti up there. I didn’t know whether to scream in anger or empathise because…you know, I can see it would be a romantic place to ask someone to prom. (I kid not. Someone had scratched ‘Prom?’ into the wall.)
After a somewhat distressing shopping break where we managed to lose my friend (never fear, we found her), we returned to the youth hostel for lunch. Later that afternoon, we set out to the Louvre and for a birthday dinner. We actually had two birthdays on our trip, which I thought was rather impressive timing.
It was our final day so I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see any sites on my Les Mis tour, but it turned out that we were eating just round the corner from the site of the Corinthe/barricade! Yep. THAT BARRICADEEEE. *screams*
In the movie/musical, the Musain is mushed with the Corinthe, but they’re different places.
That definitely deserved full size photos, right? LES MIS TAKES PRIORITY OVER THE EIFFEL TOWER. Duh. 😛 Anyway, we followed that on with a trip to the Notre Dame – we were looking for a lights show, but after watching a film about organists for half an hour we realised this was a complete lie. So that was a great success, haha. It was fine, though, because then we all got glowsticks and started a flashmob with a street performer in the square. *coughs* All casual-like. (I’ll never be able to listen to Cheerleader again, argh.)
Unfortunately, that was the end of my trip! PARIS, MY LOVE, I SHALL SEE THEE AGAIN. NEVER FEAR. *sheds a single tear* Maybe I’ll join in with all the weddings and get married to Paris. 😉 (Though, of course, London remains in my heart too.) I had the most amazing time, and there was so much still to explore. If I ever get the chance, I would definitely visit again!
Have you ever been to Paris? Are there any places you’re just dying to visit? Would you want to see more London-y things on my blog? TELL ME ALL THE TRAVEL FEELS. 😀
P.S. Here’s the final call for my blog survey! Seriously, I will send you love and cookies forever if you fill it out.