Autodidact: self-taught


Hocus Pocus – I Put a Spell On You

by V. L. Craven
'Yay! It's my favourite book!'

‘Yay! It’s my favourite book!’

I was a little out of the intended age-range for Hocus Pocus when it was released,but I still enjoyed it. Particularly the party scene.

Bonus random fact time:

Kathy Najimi is always delightful, of course, and she was in Sister Act. Bette was considered for the role that eventually went to Whoopi Goldberg.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Stephen Collins were in Hocus Pocus and First Wives Club with Bette. Parker played Bette’s husband’s new girlfriend. Collins played Diane Keaton’s ex.

Dame Maggie Smith was also in The First Wives Club (and Sister Act) and would go on to play kick-ass witch Professor McGonagall.

At one point in Hocus Pocus Penny and Gary Marshall play a married couple (they’re real-life siblings). Gary Marshall directed Bette in Beaches.

Penny and Gary Marshall

Rosie O’Donnell is a huge Bette Midler fan, as well as a friend of hers. Rosie was directed in A League of Their Own by Penny Marshall and Exit to Eden by Gary Marshall.

Each year Bette also hosts Hulaween, which raises money for the New York Restoration Project and  inspires loads of incredible costumes .



by V. L. Craven

Stoker Film Poster

After high school student, India Stoker’s, father dies suddenly her uncle, Charlie, arrives out of nowhere. He endears himself to Evelyn–his brother’s widow–straightaway, but India distrusts him. It’s odd that she’s never even heard of the man until her father’s funeral. However, the longer he’s around, the more intrigued she becomes. Other people are equally wary of the man, as well, but their objections aren’t heard, as they all seem to disappear rather quickly.

You want dark secrets? You can have them. You want a tense what-the-hell-will-happen atmosphere? Here you are.

Stoker  is sort of American Beauty for psychopaths.

The script is by Wentworth Miller (yes, the guy from Prison Break–it’s his first writing credit, as well–nice one.) The cinematography is gorgeous and the visual effects are stunning. The sets are appropriately elegant and the soundtrack is a perfect complement.

Both Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman are good, but Mia Wasikowska’s India is fantastic. She reminds me of a cross between Wednesday Addams and Darlene Conner in all the best ways.

If you liked The Bleeding House you’ll probably like this and vice versa.

And the posters were great. Have another.

Stoker Poster 2

Emily Wells’ ‘Becomes the Color’ is the song that plays over the end credits. I’m in love with it just a little.


The Kransky Sisters

by V. L. Craven

The Kransky Sisters

The Kransky Sisters are a musical group from Esk, in Queensland, Australia. Their names are Mourne, Eve, Arva and Dawn. Arva and Dawn have a different father than Mourne and Eve. Dawn took over tuba duties when Arva went off to join the Hornbell Military Marching Band. More information about their background here.

They live a very sheltered existence, but enjoy listening to music on the wireless and sharing dry, macabre stories before doing their versions of popular songs, which are always oddly applicable to the stories they tell.

I’m pretty sure they were the entertainment at the gathering in The Witches–we just didn’t stick around long enough to see them perform.

Basically, they’re my favourite thing at the mo. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever wished I lived in Australia.

From their website: In a quiet town in the middle of south east Queensland lives a huddle of strange sisters, whom, in between tending ants, knitting egg warmers, and hanging out cane toad skins to dry, travel around the country performing their popular musical shows to a growing following. With kitchen pot, toilet brush, keyboard, musical saw, tuba, guitar and duelling tambourines these three weird yet endearing spinsters present offbeat covers of songs ranging from Nana Mouskouri and Eurythmics to Talking Heads and The Bee Gees.

The sisters give us a bit more of their biological background in this video before they sing a bit of Highway to Hell:

The Kransky Sisters Banner

Until I learned about them, I had no idea a musical saw sounded so much like a theremin.

They also do hilarious print interviews, where they say things like:

EM: One of your covers ‘Pop Musik’ you heard in a disco at a night called Stark Raving Mad. Did you have a good experience? Would you go out clubbing again?

Kranksys: Those clubs are a bit strange. They look like one big dressing room, but no-one is putting their clothes back on. They are not kept well at all either. There was some sort of electricity problem the night we went to one, because the lights wouldn’t stop flashing on and off. They were faulty. Then there was a terrible screeching, scratching sound and smoke was everywhere. We left straight after we called the fire brigade.

I’ll leave you with a video of an interview:


Meta Post

by V. L. Craven

Nostalgia about nostalgia about nostalgia.

I was fiddling around on my computer and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” comes on my mp3 player and I’m instantly thirteen. Smell is supposed to be most closely linked to memory but when I hear certain songs I may as well jump in a time machine, so much do some songs put me right back in the frame of mind I was in when said song was ubiquitous.

It’s fitting that the song that set me off this time was Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, a list song he wrote about the key world events occurring in his lifetime. I was born nearly thirty years after Mr Joel (him = May 09, 1949 me = June 09 1978) but his song about his childhood defines my childhood. I ‘came of age’ when his song of coming of age was popular. I know every word of the song even though the vast majority of the events happened before I was born.

I’ve always prided myself on differing from my peers by not caring about age difference but recently it has occurred to me just how important certain events can be to people. One day I will meet a person who wasn’t born when 9/11 happened and I will be baffled; just as people who were alive when JFK was assassinated feel when they talk to people my age. When that happens I’ll feel as I do now about JFK people: that it’s such a defining moment I can’t believe I don’t have a memory of it. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t a sentient being then–I should remember something like that. I’ll feel that way about future pro-9/11 kids. Nostalgia is like a supremely bizarre LSD trip.

This whole thing has been exacerbated by a project I was working on for one of my bosses where I needed to find sites with lists of things people in their sixties had seen invented as well as things people in their 20s had never lived without. I discovered The People History which lists useful info for each year in U.S. history, as well as Wikipedia’s Years in Literature which has lists of popular books for any given year. They also have music. It’s fascinating, addictive stuff. And normally I believe in connection across generational differences. but after poking around on some of these sites I can see how some people would only want to be with those they could identify with chronologically. In twenty years I don’t know if I could be interested (emotionally/intimately) in a person who had no concept of 9/11, even though I’m no patriot. The whole project has made me think, which I appreciate.


Stand Up

by V. L. Craven

Bill Bailey

American versus British News Themes

Hats Off to the Zebras


Magic Roundabout

(As Portishead) Covers Zippity Do-Dah

Snooker Song

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra

Louis C.K.

I’m Prejudiced Against 20 Year Olds

Louis C.K. Saved His Dumb Dog’s Life

Louis C.K. Quotes
001. I’d happily trade your life for knowledge of my powers.

Dylan Moran

What It Is Live

Entire show in 8 parts here .

Dylan Moran Quotes:
001. I hate you so much it gives me energy!

Tim Minchin

“The Good Book”

Human Logic

“If I Didn’t Have You”


“Only a ginger can call another ginger ginger.”


“The Song for Phil Daoust”


Music Venue

by V. L. Craven

Notes, Lyrics, Videos of Songs/Bands/Albums I like to have to hand

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