Early March sunshine brings busy days and happy dogs. Piglet is made for sunshine and she’s been romping.

Piglet

I went to the cinema with Holly to see Us because we both love horror films. We had no idea what kind of horror it was but left very satisfied. I also booked a day out with Writers HQ for Nige’s Christmas present. So we spent a Saturday in Leeds in a lovely old industrial mill which had been turned into a museum at a writing retreat. It was a fun day out, lots of writing sprint times, some chats about story ideas and how to get past blockages. We both wrote lots of new words.

Writers HQ Retreat – pics by @Mon_Dickson

Writing

It’s been a busy month with lots of editing. Most of my new word were for an interactive game idea I’ve had that ties into my YA universe. I’d spent a little time looking at the coding and seeing how the story tied in with the gameplay. It was good fun writing scenes that allowed a player to develop their character. I wrote the intro and beginning of the story and have a good handle on how to continue.

Plus I worked on a new short story idea. I’m not quite sure what it is yet, so let’s call it Codename Sunshine.

Books

For some reason when I search my library’s ebook site, I never find anything, but the other week I realised if I browsed, the books I wanted were actually there. So I’ve been burning through their catalogue. I got myself in the mood for a Crazy Rich Asian’s film sequel by reading China Rich Girlfriend and the last book in the trilogy Rich People Problems. I am so ready for all the Charlie and Astrid moments.

I’m also reading, in short bursts, The Vela, a serialised novel via SerialBox. You get a new ‘episode’ a week for eleven weeks. I like the idea in theory but I read too damned fast to love it in practice. Still, it’s a good book so far, I just think next time I’ll wait until the whole book is out then read it – completely defeating the purpose of it being serialised.

TV

The Magicians continues to be one of my favourite shows on TV. The writing is excellent, the storylines complex and, thanks to those stories, the acting is so strong. We’ve seen most of the main cast push their boundaries and the show keeps pushing harder. Each episode has standout elements, from the depth of consent in ‘Marry, F*ck, Kill’, to Alice confronting her own issues to help Harriet, to this weeks Margo-centric emotionally compromised musical extravaganza.

I hadn’t read The Umbrella Academy comics so the weird TV show was a bit of a surprise. It’s good fun with some great characters (world-weary Number 5 and Klaus were faves), good frenetic soundtrack over action and a really nice use of time travel. This is the story of seven adopted kids who don’t really like each other very much who have superpowers of varying power and usefulness. Their father is abusive, they end up pretty isolated from one another, except for Klaus and Ben for reasons, and when they’re brought back together they argue more than they mesh.

It’s not perfect, the pacing is uneven, some of the actors are much stronger than the others, but there’s a lot of potential in the finale for a good second season.

Season 3 of Queer Eye is back with more new people to help. It’s comfortably familiar now but I still enjoyed every episode. Some felt harder to watch, such as Tan breaking down after Jess was rejected by her family or the whole Elrod & Sons episode with the grieving family.

Tan France

It’s season 4 for Line of Duty on Netflix (while S5 has just started on iPlayer), one of the many UK cop shows I inhale to help me write about the police force. (I do other research too, honest!). It’s about a police anti-corruption unit so it’s a good show for the nitty gritty of the police force themselves, as well as the crimes committed.

I also burned through Idris Elba’s Turn Up Charlie on Netflix and S2 of Man like Mobeen. Both have Guz Khan in, as Idris’ friend in Turn Up Charlie and the lead of Mobeen. I’ve got such a soft spot for Man like Mobeen, it’s the comedy Britain needs right now, just like Goodness Gracious Me opened a lot of hearts in its time. It’s a comedy that covers police brutality, Brexit and knife crime. It’s a hard thing to do, but it balances seriousness and humour well. The BBC is stingy, it’s a mere four twenty minute episodes, but it’s time well spent.

Man Like Mobeen

Films

I went to the cinema twice this month, to see Captain Marvel and Us. Captain Marvel was a good, solid origins Marvel film, but Us blew me away. I don’t want to talk about it too much, as it’s not long out here, but there are so many references, homages and easter eggs I really need to see it again. Okay, minor spoiler, damn those outfits, that costume designer made their costumes tell such a story. Incredible.

Us

I watched Triple Frontier on Netflix mostly for Oscar Isaac plus heist, two of my favourite things. It doesn’t have deep heist competency, instead, it’s more of a heist gone sideways speedy action shooter, but the tension is pretty strong. There’s a distinct lack of any character moments, but luckily Oscar carries the film past a limp Affleck towards a weak ending.

Games

I’m mostly mourning the lack of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, when will R* announce it? I’ve not had much time to game, but I’ve been dipping in and out of old games that I never quite finished. There’s so many of them…

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