Monday, 5 August 2013

"Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that."

About a few years ago, I spotted my really talented and awesome friend Derek Bremner, who was sporting a “Joss Whedon is my Master now” T-shirt. Only the deep resounding love I have for Del (combined with the fact that the t-shirt would look a little bit like The Hulk on me), stopped me from ripping this from him and claiming the spoils as my own.

That was a few years ago. Fast forward to 12th June 2013 and I am hot, bothered and fidgeting with anticipation at attending ‘A Conversation with Joss Whedon’ at the BFI Southbank.
Joss Whedon is someone whom I greatly respect. Back in the day, I came home one night from a very late gig to see the end of Buffy and watch as she finally had sex with Angel and then to my horror, watch him become Angelus….roll credits..Say what now?! I had initially avoided Buffy. The film was still fresh in my mind and I didn’t relish the idea of watching said cheerleader in varying degrees of live action Scooby Doo and the gang type adventures.

Talk about getting it wrong. One of the amazing things about Mr Whedon is having the ability to know what it is we want to see. We see that thing and then we need to see more. I wanted to hate Buffy but how the hell could I? Don’t get me wrong, there are episodes where I have been very tempted to find Mr Whedon and ask him what the hell he is playing at (see Season 4, Riley arc in particular, exception Hush) but then he comes up and delivers not only the things I need to see but forces me to watch the things I really didn’t want to. You have to be a stone cold sonofabitch not to melt at ‘The Body’.
So here I am and so it begins and I won’t go into a blow by blow about everything he said. What I can say is that being in his presence is inspiring. He talked about his despair about the lack of great females characters in television and movies. That for all the Buffy achieved, we still haven’t got there. He spoke of the fact that especially in the horror franchise, we just have characters that seem to be cannon fodder who we don’t engage with, we just watch them get hacked to bits. And then there was Firefly…
I initially was a huge sceptic about Firefly, probably not helped by my husband describing it as Space Cowboys by Whedon……not impressed. Then I saw the first episode, well the end of the episode where said villain is monologing and just when I was thinking, “Why does no-one ever just shoot these guys in the head or something?!” Captain Mal Reynolds blows said villain out of the airlock. This assured 2 things, firstly that I would have a penchant for Nathan Fillion (reconciling my fear of him from Buffy Season 7) and a swift reminder not to underestimate the power of the Whedon. I watched and loved it and was gutted when it was cancelled but with the help of my fellow geeks and Whedonites, I got to a happy place about the whole thing, assuring myself that at least it never stayed around to get shit. Then Joss went and ruined it all.
Hearing him talk about it, adding the emotion of this fully formed show that didn’t have to become something, because it was already there was just heart-breaking. It was like going thru the whole thing again as he charted the rise and fall of Firefly. I could not help but shake my fists at the world and ask, “Why God wwwwhhhhyyyyy!”
You could listen to Joss be insightful and self-deprecating and well, just pretty damn awesome for the entire night. It was a tremendous experience, which merely happened through a twist of fate but the best thing to come out of it was the answer to a question. The question was the typical, “How do I be a writer and get into the industry?” It’s a question that the world never stops asking of people like Joss, how did you do it? How come you got there? Gimme the guide, gimme anything?! And I once again had to bow to this man for what he said, “If you want to be a writer then why aren’t you writing? You have to do it. There are so many avenues now so just do it, write, get your stuff out there.” Just like that…BOOM! This is a guy who has had varying degrees of success. There are a lot of ‘couldn’t happens’ that come along with Joss. I remember hearing when he was originally touted as the director for Avengers the naysayers queued up in droves. For a second I held my breath because I knew that if he blew this then that would be it.
That night inspired me to keep going, to put my words out there because it’s something that I love to do and am pretty good at. The sheer tenacity of the man, made me fix the hell up, stop being afraid and put pen to paper for an audience. So here I am, my mind now fixed on watching some Firefly but mainly grateful for the experience of listening to the insights of a great writer.
Enjoy my latest alcoholic offering while remembering that I can kill you with my brain….so just to be safe look out for my next blog.
Sereni-Tea (Firefly/Serenity cocktail) – Courtesy of The Drunken Moogle
1oz Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
¾ oz Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum
¾ oz silver tequila
¾ oz gin
1oz sour mix
Sweet Tea
Directions: Shake all ingredients, except for the sweet tea and cola, with ice and pour in a highball glass.  Top off with an even mix of cola and sweet tea and garnish with a lemon wedge. Toast to the Independents and drink up! This variation of the classic Long Island Iced Tea cocktail is also known as Browncoat Tea.

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