Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Not a Christmas Post: Thoughts on Apathy

So there are only seven days till Christmas and what have I got for you? A post about how nobody in the world cares about anything ever. If there’s a more seasonally appropriate topic I don’t know what it is.

Lately I’ve been thinking about apathy.

Definition of apathy

  1. Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference.

2. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.
Apathy and Her Ring and Her Razor by Kira Leigh
I won’t pretend to be well read on the subject and I’m certainly not a scholar, therapist or expert. I just like to read and think and theorise and that’s what I’m doing here.

Apathy seems to be a growing concern in Western society particularly in the generation known as Y (of which I am a part). An apathetic attitude can be caused by a number of things including inundation of negative stimuli or a sense of helplessness. Both these things, I believe, affect the world today. Never have we had so much access to information and it cannot be denied that the majority of the news is made up of devastating, violent, and horrific events. (No wonder the rest is tabloid entertainment, we need the reprieve.) With so much war, domestic violence, animal cruelty, destruction of nature, hate, rage, etc., etc. being broadcast 24/7 it’s only natural that we feel unequipped to help. And if we can’t help, if we can’t change the situation than isn’t all that negativity too much to cope with, wouldn’t it be better to just shut it out.

I’m beginning to think apathy has become our go to tool for self-preservation in an overwhelmingly damaged world. I hope one day soon we can bring ourselves to care again, or better yet believe that we can affect change. Maybe I’ll start by listening to the sad stories people want to tell me and turning on the news instead of flicking to repeats of the Simpsons.

Do you believe apathy is a problem? How can one person make a difference?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Doctor Who and Peter Pan

I only began watching Doctor Who part way through this year. Last night’s 50th anniversary episode ‘Day of the Doctor’ was truly stunning and I have now begun my slog through the last seven seasons (as far back as I dare go) so I may be fully prepared come the new season and the new Doctor.

What has struck, and most fascinated, me about the Doctor is his remarkable similarity to another clever boy who never grew up. From what little I’ve seen there seems to be and ongoing theme of growing up in Doctor Who and the man himself shares a lot of characteristics with Peter Pan. Remember I’m operating on limited knowledge and assumptions before you read on. I’ll probably check back in on this topic once I’ve finished catching up.
1.       The Doctor doesn’t want to grow up: Taking it a step further he seems be purposefully getting more immature as he gets older. It’s no doubt a cover for the darker things that lurk beneath but still. This was highlighted in ‘Day of the Doctor’ when John Hurt, portraying a younger Doctor, when confronted by two other versions of himself, around four hundred years older, and calls them kids never imagining them to be much older hims. And later, too much laughter, when the most recent Doctor describes the situation as ‘timey wimey’ and John Hurt scoffs.

2.       Companions: The Doctor has his companions, many and varied as they are, and Pan has his. Both inevitably outgrow their mischievous immortal friend and say their bitter sweet farewells, or in die in some cases. The Doctor offers all of time and space and Peter offers Indians, Pirates, Mermaids, and never having to worry about grown up things again. It’s too good to pass up but I imagine their usually running away from something (unsatisfactory life, fear of an uncertain future, the usual) not to it. The Doctor and Peter Pan are just tools for procrastination but ultimately can’t give them what they need and have to let them go.

3.       Spirit of Mischief: The Roman God Pan is a mischievous faun with a set of pipes who loved tricks and deception. Peter Pan is a cheeky little boy with a set of pan pipes. The Doctor is a nutter with a sonic screwdriver. OK maybe not a nutter I apologise, I love him too. There’s a sneaky twinkle in each of their eyes. There’s also something sinister and deadly and so so sad in them as well. We know from our vampire feels that immortality can be lonely beast and Peter and the Doctor don’t even have others of their kind to talk to.

4.       The Romance Thing: We’re all a little bit in love with him aren’t we? Our Doctor. And don’t you think his companions are too, some more obviously than others. His relationship with a few of them remind me of Peter and Wendy. Wendy loves Peter, and he loves her in as much as he can, but he can’t love her way the she needs/wants him to, he’s just not old enough to be capable of it. The Doctor is old enough and then some. His barrier to loving back may come from the divide in species or something more personal or internal but there is a barrier. Yes on occasion that barrier slips, River Song for example, but in most cases he can’t love them the way they wish he could and eventually, as in the point above, he has to let them go so they can find someone who can.
Wendy: "Oh the cleverness of you." And "Peter, you won't forget me will you?"
Clara: "Run you clever boy, and remember."

This is all I have so far in theories, let’s call it an essay plan and in seven seasons time maybe I’ll come back with an essay. In the meantime please offer your thoughts on the Doctor, Peter Pan and all that stuff in between. I’m off to watch some tellie.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Time is it....


It's a bit of a trend at the moment isn't it. Toys and games are everywhere. My brother put me onto this brilliant cartoon late last year and I'm currently going through a re-watch. I have also caught the drawing bug again and thought I'd try out drawing Adventure Time style. In my search for reference material and found some truly stunning fan art as well as images by the artists that create Adventure Time. Here are some of my faves.

By Suihara
 Adventure Time makes a lot of references to classic anime so it's only natural that people would love drawing the characters in classic anime style.

By Matthew Ethan
 This realist illustration style is a fascinating take on the completely unrealist subject matter.
By Dave Perillo

By Bobby O'Herlihy

By J J Harrison

Friday, October 11, 2013

Picture of the Week

I haven't done a Picture of the Week post since January 2012. Shocking I know, especially since it's the easiest post to do, as such I thought I better make this one a twofer.

The Magic Cup by Arthur Rackham, 1908

From the Secret Garden by Charles Robinson, 1911

What interests me here, and the reason I put these two images together, are the similarities in imagery and composition despite the different subject matter and artists. The vegetation in the back ground, young girl's looking down into a body of water, even the goblins and cup in Rackham's piece remind me of the cherub and fish fountain in Robinson's. 

I found both these pictures on one of my favourite boards on Pinterest, Illustration Station by Fiona Lusby.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sheilah Beckett

I featured some Sheilah Beckett pieces in my Twelve Dancing Princesses post the other week and was so taken with her style I had to share some more with you. I was quite pleasantly surprised when searching for more artwork that I had also featured her way back when in 2011 in my Snow White and Rose Red post.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I’ve been meaning to buy some succulents for ages and today I finally headed to the market and picked up two little cuties. I love them so much I’ve decided to try my hand at propagating a few maybe succulent growing could be my new hobby. I’m not the only one loving succulents at the moment, they’re quite the lingering trend. Here a few gorgeous succulent pins that inspired me over on Pinterest.





Wish me luck

Friday, September 27, 2013

Twelve Dancing Princesses

Today I tell the story The Twelve Dancing Princesses otherwise known as The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces or The Invisible Shepherd Boy. Between those three titles you can pretty much guess what will happen but I’m going to recount it for you anyway (with pictures of course).

Once upon a time someplace European and pseudo-medieval there was a young man, a star gazer, shepherd, wounded soldier or other such profession unsuitable to snobby princesses. 

By H. J. Ford 1890 
By Adrienne Adam, 1966
In some versions of the tale he was visited by a golden woman in a dream and told to go to a castle, in others he just happened upon it but in either case he came to a castle.

By A. H. Watson, 1927

By Errol Le Cain, 1981

There he heard tales of twelve princesses who disappeared every night and in the morning their shoes were completely worn out. The King was at his wits end. He had offered any prince who could discover the princesses secret one of their hands in marriage. All had failed and the king either imprisoned them or didn’t mess about and killed them.

By Kay Nielsen 1913

This is where the stories most divide. Sometimes the young man becomes a castle gardener and grows two laurel trees one that produces a flower which, when put in his button hole, renders him invisible. 

By Margaret Evans Price, 1921.

Other times an old woman in tells him of the princesses, warns him not to drink their sleeping draft and gives him an invisibility cloak. He then offers his services to the King.

By Errol Le Cain, 1981

Now our invisible hero follows the princesses. 

By A. H. Watson, 1927

By Errol Le Cain, 1981
He tails them through a trap door  and down a flight of stairs. At one point he accidentally steps on the youngest princesses dress but her sisters tell her she just got it caught.

By Su Blackwell

By Kay Nielsen 1913

He then follows them through three groves or forests, one silver, one gold, and one diamond. 

By Arthur Rackham, 1909

By Anne Anderson 1934

They come to a lake where twelve princes in twelve boats are awaiting them. The young man gets in the boat with the youngest daughter whom, naturally, he fancies. 

By Errol Le Cain, 1981
By Sheilah Beckett

The Prince must assume at this point that the princess is putting on weight while she equally assumes the prince has become quite chubby as their boat moves much slower through the water.

By Errol Le Cain, 1981
They come to a great ball. 

By Kay Nielsen 1913

From the The Children’s Encyclopedia, Edited by Arthur Mee and Holland Thompson

By Elenore Abbot, 1920

There is a crazy amount of dancing and the poor lonely young man wishes he could dance too (think Perks of Being a Wallflower only nobody does notice him).

By Errol Le Cain, 1981
By Hellen Stratton, 1903

Depending on how many times he follows them on various trips he breaks off a branch from each of the different trees. He is heard by some of the princesses but dismissed as something else.

In some versions he now presents his findings to the king and wins the hand of the youngest princess (he should totally pick the eldest so he gets the kingdom, but I suppose his humble beginnings don’t allow him to reach that far). In a much more romantic version of the tale the princesses discover he knows about their trips and decide to curse him like they have the other princes to only love dancing and nothing else. 

By Kay Nielsen 1913

He overhears this plot and decides to go along willingly because he would rather be with the youngest princess in this way than not at all. At the last second she stops them yelling, “I would rather marry a gardener!” 

By Sheilah Beckett

And they all live happily ever after, except the eleven other princesses and original twelve princes.

The End

Nine variations on this tale can be found at D. L. Ashliman's page on The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces.

And one for good luck, the book that introduced to these twelve rebellious ladies...
Illustrated by Jane Ray


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