I don’t know how it’s never occurred to me to do a blog on Bookends before, because it is truly one of my favourite shops in Northern Ireland; but I have been struggling to start (and more importantly finish) blogs these days, so I’ve been digging in the very hidden recesses of my brain for inspiration.
Also, I was there today, so I am feeling super inspired and babbley. Shut up, it’s a word.
Anyway, Bookends is a very hidden treasure, tucked away down the side of Bangor train station. That’s Bangor, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland…in case any of you are from Outer Mongolia and there happens to be a Bangor there, too. Or Wales. There’s a Bangor in Wales.
You’re welcome for the valuable trivia.
Back on topic; it’s a second hand book shop. The greatest second hand book shop I have ever been in, and trust me, I have been in many. I venture here about twice a year, but today was hands down the most successful visit I’ve ever been on. I GOT SO MUCH STUFF.
And then I made my wonderful other half carry my very heavy bag of books back to the car. I am a lady, I don’t do no carrying.
I can’t really tell you about their stock, because there are many, many, many books, in all imaginable genres, and I only ever really make a bee-line for the Fantasy section…also, it changes A LOT. I can tell you that the shop itself is like something off TV; Black Books really does come to mind, but the staff are much nicer and less likely to scream at you in a drunken rage. Much less likely, I’m sure. Both the owner and his bearded colleague were happy enough to help us dig through PILES of books and comics to find something that suited us, and oh, did I find stuff.
We stumbled in on a good day, too – 50% off loads of different genres (including Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and comics for 50p! 50-freakin’-pence!
Bearing that in mind…here’s what I came away with on this particular visit.
I am a huge David Eddings fan (go read The Belgariad!) and this giant, GIANT book was only £5…minus the 50% from the sale. Wow, right? The teeny picture below is to give you some idea of just how big it actually is. Glorious, but maybe not one for reading on the train. Shoulder ache.
As much as I love David Eddings, my heart will always truly belong to Raymond E. Feist. I quite own a lot of his books, but being the literary hoarder that I am, I figured I might as well start aiming for a full collection of magical and wonderful works.
The eagle eyed among you may have glanced your eyes over the last picture there and noticed ‘Gosh, you have books one, two and four, how silly of you!’, but they didn’t have book three and I can’t turn down a bargain (£1.50 each, including discount, I think). If you happen to come across ‘Rage Of A Demon King’, make a girl’s day and send it this way?
Oh, that rhymed. Neato.
Similar situation here, book two of two, and I don’t own book one…but see that little sticker on the front there?
OH YEAH! Now, I know it’s not actually worth any money, given it’s not a first edition and isn’t in marvellous condition, but it’s a sentimental thing, really. I’ll enjoy owning it and showing it off to people who appreciate my Feist collection.
Like, erm, my Dad.
Finally, I got myself Hannibal Rising, but I reckon the boyf. will get in there before I do. I’m addicted to the Hannibal television series, although I was never a Thomas Harris fan before! Just finished Red Dragon, I couldn’t put it down. I did call in to find Silence Of The Lambs, but it wasn’t there. That’s my excuse for the giant book haul.
As well as books, I had a good rifle through the stacks of comic books that Bookends had to offer. The lovely gentleman working there had me pre-warned that these stacks have been rifled through a lot – but I wasn’t really looking for anything of real worth, just little things that would appeal to my odd collection.
If you are a Marvel fan, get yourself down there- they had boxes upon boxes of Avengers and Mighty Thor…but alas, I would not know where to start with any of these titles, and I’m trying (and failing) to devote myself and my budget to my love of Batgirl.
Oh, also Uncanny X-Men. So many mutants.
These are the comics that I did get. IS THE PICTURE BIG ENOUGH? HUH? Two from the mid-Eighties and one from 2001. Again, nothing I really collect, but these were all the Detective Comics that they had, and for 50p each, I didn’t want to leave them there to gather dust and never know the love of a real home.
Side note: check out the chick on the top issue there…Nocturna. Apparently, her only real reason for becoming a villain was that her skin was slightly paler than that of your average human being. She’s still got nothing on me.
Before this starts to get too long and babbley (still a word), I’ll wrap this up. If you are looking for a nice little day trip, Bangor is well worth it. Some parts of the town look like they exist somewhere out of time and space (could do with a dab of modernization, is all I’m saying), but there’s this incredible little book cave, a brand new shiny CeX and the freakin’ Pickie Park.
They’ve done the Pickie Park up loads since I was a kid. I had a go on a pedalo swan, but I think it’s maybe more for little children. That’s not to say it’s not a whole bunch of fun.
Off to settle down now to read one of my lovely new books…they have that great second-hand, pre-loved smell. Get to Bangor before the weather turns and freezes the marina into a giant iceberg of misery. It’s well worth your time.
I love ASOS. I make no secret of this; over the years I have found some weird and wonderful little things on the site. Mind you, they are, like most regular non-geekcentric websites, slaves to trends. I don’t approve of trends. They are too much like change, and I hate change.
Anyway, the ASOS sale is bloomin’ marvellous. Here are some things I want that you should want too.
Dinosaur t-shirt! Okay, maybe not “geeky”, but adorable and lovely. And I really like green and everyone knows dinosaurs were green. Plus, a steal at £8. It’s only a bargain if it’s under £10.
Sticking to the girly items for a moment, this little bangle. Sometimes it is necessary to hide your true, nerdy inner child self under a blanket of maturity and normal-ness (job interviews, weddings, funerals, murder trials), so it is necessary to be a little more subtle in your choice of accessory. This bangle has a teeny pair of geek glasses for a clasp, but I’m sure no one will notice that unless you feel the need to point it out.
Which, of course, you will.
Don’t worry, boy people, I have not neglected you. Batman vest! Vest with Batman on it! Ignore the generic model with generic model head tilt, focus instead on the wonder of the cowl. ASOS mens’ stock has been a little bit disappointing of late, unless you like dressing like a rainbow threw up on you, but every now and again, you get a little gem.
No affirmation necessary. Go get this.
This came from the men’s section, but I like to think it’s fairly gender neutral. In honour of True Blood making it’s way back to our screens (erm, well, America’s screens) recently, it seems only fair to include some vampire themed bits and bobs. Although, it seems they have fallen slightly out of vogue in the past few months (Twilight is all over and done with, after all. And thank god), Sky is screening teasers and trailers for the Dracula series they are gifting us in Autumn…so I see fangs making a big comeback.
If you are really into the child-of-the-night-but-not-a-hooker look, there’s also this gothic bling.
ASOS delivers quickly, does not mess you about with returns and exchanges, and the quality of the stuff is beyond decent. Highly recommended. If you do buy something, or see something wonderful that I’ve missed, let me know! I like to know I’m helping someone somewhere in someway, somehow.
I am a huge, huge fan of London. I think I might live there someday, even just for a little while. Recently, I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to help a very lovely Aunt celebrate a very important birthday. A lady never tells, of course. Unfortunately, we were only there for two days and I was forewarned not to expect anyone to come to any museums with me (it’s okay – I’m going again JUST for the museums! Joy), so it was sort of a whistle-stop tour of London. Literally…”LOOK, THERE’S BUCKINGHAM PALACE. Now let’s sprint to Piccadilly!”
I think I dropped two dress sizes with all the walking we did.
You may or may not be aware that London is, like, the greatest place to shop. I’m comparing this to Belfast and Lisburn, so obviously my scope is small and unimpressive, but oh, Camden. I want to live there, but it’s really expensive, so if you’re ever there and see someone living in a box and begging for change dressed as Batgirl…well. That might be me, chuck us a quid.
If markets, stalls and haggling isn’t your thing, then you’re weird, but there’s also Oxford Street, home of, well, all the flagships stores of all the shops that have ever existed. I might be exaggerating, but Selfridges is there. I am a girl, and as such, I like to look at expensive handbags (and then buy comic book print ones, see above). Nice to look at, but if you are willing to spend that much money on something that isn’t a house or an island, you need psychological help. We went to Oxford Street for one main reason, and that reason was Primark. SUCH A PRIMARK. I’m pretty sure it has everything that Primark actually make. On the downside, it is absolutely packed. There is no room for movement or trying things on or basic human decency. You get in there, you find what you want, you grab it and you queue. I got a little pile of basics, and a Batman top.
I took my derpy face out for your own good. It’s nice and long and not all black, so it’s a change from all my other Batman tops. This is my justification for buying another item of clothing with the bat symbol on it.
I also saw an amazing Star Wars tshirt, but they only had it in sizes 8 or 20. Typical. I am keeping my eyes peeled for it making its way to the Primark in Belfast, or, heaven forbid, Lisburn.
There you have it, a brief summary of my weekend in London, illustrated through my few but beloved purchases. I will be back, and I will have a much emptier suitcase to fill with magical Camden junk.
RIGHT. I AM GOING TO SIT HERE AND NOT MOVE UNTIL I MANAGE TO WRITE A BLOG.
Thank you for bearing with me, but I’ve had sort of a crazy month; the idea of sitting down and writing something for the pure enjoyment of it just didn’t seem to be happening. I hate chores and sometimes, blogging feels like a chore. Not today though. Today will be magical and productive, as will everyday that follows it. Can you feel all those positive vibes I’m throwing out there? Marvellous.
So, writer’s block has been the worst thing ever, and it has affected far more than my ability to blog (unfortunately), but that’s a whole other thing you don’t want to hear about. What’s that? You do? Tough, I don’t want to talk about it. I want to talk about movies and comic books and the many adorable geeky things I’ve bought in the past month. Those are better things to talk about, don’t you think?
Onwards and upwards towards the actual subject. You may have noted the title of this blog is, in fact ‘Man Of Steel’, and not ‘Let’s Watch A Geek In Her Early Twenties Experience Her First Mid-Life Crisis’. The first one if catchier.
I can’t believe I let Man Of Steel come out without the appropriate amount of adoration and hype from the RefugeekNI corner. I am, after all, a complete DC nut, though I have to admit that I am not a HUGE Superman fan – mostly because he’s a boy scout and everything Batman is not, and because Smallville did nothing but bug me for the however many years it managed to cling to my television. I am, however, a Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan fan, and they did not let me down. This was the Superman movie I really wanted to see.
Henry Cavill played Mr. Kent as moody, confused and conflicted (and he was often topless, which, to the heterosexual female eye, was an art form in itself), while Russell Crowe made Jor-El a complete hard-ass. I loved the armour, and it was interesting to see how Zack Snyder envisioned Krypton. It’s not, not in a million years, how I would have pictured it, but it worked. I guess. I don’t know, maybe I wanted more from such a famous, ill-fated planet. It’s like the Titanic of planets, there should’ve been more…pomp? Circumstance? I don’t know, but I wasn’t disappointed, not really. There were a lot of new ideas about Krypton thrown in there too, ideas that I liked. The idea that they are all bred to serve a certain purpose, and that Kal-El was the first baby born of natural (sexy) means in over a hundred years adds a whole new depth to the character, his civilization and the sacrifice made by his mother (which was heartbreaking to watch, both awful and brilliant).
There are two things that did disappoint me. First of all, I do not think Amy Adams was Lois Lane. Sure, she was spunky and determined, but I felt for most of the movie, she was just sort of…there. Being useful and female. The love story aspect was not convincing at all, it was just rushed and there was no chemistry. Not in my opinion, at least. There needed to be a spark – a spark between Lois and Clark, a spark in Lois at all…for me, it just wasn’t there.
The other aspect of this movie that disappointed me almost to the point of laughing was the RIDICULOUS product placement. Seriously? Did they think we wouldn’t notice?
“Hi there, I’m Lois Lane and I HAVE A NIKON CAMERA.” Pfft. PFFT. Between that and the Ihop that manages to survive an extra terrestrial super battle? C’mon Hollywood, we’re not stupid.
Before I start to sound too negative, I just have to…Zod. Wow. Michael Shannon was a piece of casting genius, he captures the frustration and anger and ruthlessness of the General perfectly. I know he’s appeared in COUNTLESS Superman shows and movies and comics, but for the first time, I found him scary. There was an awful lot of Bane (circa The Dark Knight Rises) and just a little bit of Heath Ledger’s Joker thrown in for good, manic measure. Teeny bit gutted he never said ‘Kneel before Zod’…just me? Okay.
Over everything – over the casting, the costumes and the script, there was an overall highlight from this movie. The sheer scale of it; the visuals, the CGI…Man Of Steel was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Captivating. The way his cape sways in the breeze, his first faltering attempts to fly, the Fortress Of Solitute. Incredible to watch. I’ve talked to a lot of people who found the actual story to be a let down, and, when I think about it, maybe I did too, but the joy I got from watching this film distracted me from that. That’s no mean feat.
I’ll draw this to a close, because LONG. Well worth a watch.
Just like this blog is well worth keeping an eye on, now that I am determined to be back in business.