Posts Tagged ‘Stranded’

Deep Space Discs

July 11, 2010

As most of us know by now, being stranded on a desert island these days means becoming instantly embroiled in adventures involving mysterious hatches, smoke monsters and electromagnetic anomalies. You wouldn’t even have the time to listen to your favourite CD ever, or settle down with a good book.

The silent voids of deep space, however? Now there’s a desolace worthy of a castaway from the 21st century! And so, if you were left drifting through space, and could have one book, one album, one game (or film), and a luxury item, what would you choose?

I would take these:
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1. Book – The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

As a young’un I was a rather voracious reader – a bit like Mathilda, but without the domestic abuse and psychic powers. However, for all my word-munching,  I didn’t know what comedy writing truly was until I stumbled across The Guide. Obvious thematic practicalities aside, I chose this book as my papery space companion for a few reasons. Firstly, it is emminently re-readable; there are a wealth of clever little details to pick up on, and the humour hits home on so many levels that it demands just a little bit more effort from the reader than they might be used to. And that was what attracted me so much as a child, and has kept me coming back. Secondly, this particular version of the book is comprised of all five parts to the story, so once I’d read the first three books, I would go about trying to rewrite the last two so that they were better, keeping me well occupied between bouts of space-snoozing. This leads on to the third point, which is that on reflection, the appreciation of Mr. Adams’ writing style served me well as a diving board into my own scribblings.

2. Album – Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses)

There are more complex compositions out there, sure. And those which perhaps invoke a fuller spectrum of emotions across their tracklist, but to me, if I was lost in the universe with no sign of rescue, nothing beats Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction for sheer energy and bravado. The guitar licks in this raw monstrosity could melt suns, and there’s not a single duff* track in there. Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City and Sweet Child of Mine are the well-knowns, but it’s the dynamic riffs of tracks like Nightrain and You’re Crazy that would keep my spirits burning long into the endless night.

3. Game – Planescape: Torment

This is a rare beauty of the gaming world. The experience offered by Planescape: Torment transcends  simply being something to ‘play’.  You take on the role of The Nameless One, a man who, for one reason or another, cannot truly die. He has lived thousands of lives, but each time he dies, he loses part of his memory. By the time we pick up his story he is waking up on a mortuary slab, covered in tattoos, with absolutely no knowledge of where, when, why, or who he is.

‘What can change the nature of a man?’

Along The Nameless One’s journey, it is you, as the player, who addresses that question, exploring his past and present, and forging his future. It’s a role playing game, with a script of 800,000 words. Yep. And the number of different decisions and choices you can make are astonishing, as you explore Sigil, a city of doorways to every other plane of existence. And those doors could be anything – a word, a feeling, an object…

Aside from its thoughtful reflections of the decisions we make, and what makes people tick, PS:T is also highly replayable due to the number of different paths it is possible to take through the game. So off it goes with me into space!

4. Luxury Item

Pens and paper for writing. Technically multiple items, I suppose, but it’s my catastrophe – I’ll let myself off. And who knows, with all  that time I might actually get something finished. And, er, be the only person to read it…

*(Hoho!)

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One Night in Derby – Part 1

June 17, 2010

A few entries back, I mentioned that there was a tale-in-waiting which deserved to have an entry dedicated to it. As it turns out, it needs more like two, so here’s part one of that story, dragged out of the dungeons of my memory, 100% true. To set the scene: I was travelling back to Leicester from York by train in horrendous weather, and arrived at the station of a small, grimy town called Derby, where I was to change trains to continue my journey…

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It was a dark and stormy night; I think you know the kind
I watched my connecting train depart… while I’d been left behind
And the story of what happened next I wrote out for you all
But the tale came out so long it would’ve filled the entire wall
So here instead are the events, rewritten in poetry form,
Of what can happen stranded in Derby, in the middle of a storm
Oh, and just one crucial point – to add to my bad luck –
My phone battery had up ‘n died (Yeah I know; I suck 😉 )
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———-
Time: 9:00 pm

At nine o clock I missed my train, the connection had been late
The next one? Half-past five AM; so now, I’m thinking ‘Great...”
Then I saw a pub nearby, and headed towards the lights
To be told: “Closing early, love. Sorry, it’s one of those nights!
You’d best head into town by foot – it’s only half an hour.”
Which was fine, ‘til five minutes in, the sky began to shower
So watch me leg it down Main Street, while folk in taxis gloat
(I’ll leave it up to you to guess, whether I had brought a coat.)
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10:00 pm
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Thankfully I soon found a bar, sporting a sign which said:
“SUNDAY NIGHT IS BAND NIGHT, SO COME IN AND ROCK YOUR HEAD!”
“Band night eh, that doesn’t sound bad,” I thought, with optimism
Then discovered that ignorance is bliss, faced with Nu Metal rhythm.
However there was entertainment to find, in braving these aural assaults
By talking snobbily with some guy, about each band’s musical faults.
He’d been a friend of Robert Plant; so I ensured that we shook hands
While he reminisced about Zeppelin – “So much better than these shitty bands…”
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12:00 am
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That place closed around midnight, so time for some more bar-hopping
But now I had to hurry it up, with the temperature rapidly dropping
And it seemed that a club called ‘Fusion’ was the only available place
So I lingered in its doorway, spine shaking along with the bass.
I was just minding my own business there, when one of the bouncers asked
If I was coming in or not, and I had to convince him fast;
I didn’t have much money left by now, and less desire to spend it here
So I explained myself and pointed out that the weather was quite severe
The doorman laughed at this and then, after talking to his mate,
Suggested I help out on the door – “Beats freezing, at any rate!”
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2:00 am
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So I became a Fusion bouncer – well, at least for a while
Until the nightclub had to close, and I continued on my trial.
Through rain and wind and metal and bass, so far I had survived
I could only hope to hold my ground, until the train arrived.
But there were strange things waiting to happen in the intermittant time
And they my friends, will be the subject, of the next entry’s rhyme…
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