Look who’s back: George Ezra’s newest album, Staying At Tamara’s

Five years. Five freaking years I’ve waited for this.

The past few days found me in a state of periodic temporary despair. I’m doing better today but what made it even better was George Ezra’s and Troye Sivan’s upcoming releases. If you follow George you’d have seen a teaser for the first featured song as well as his #AskGeorgeEzra session.

#AskGeorgeEzra on Twitter

Wanted on Voyage is a bloody work of art, you can fight me on this. I’ve listened to it about twenty times and I’ll do it again because it’s that good. Budapest was the first song of his I’ve heard, it was back when iTunes was promoting new artists by letting people download a new song each week, but I hope I’d have found him even if that weren’t the case. It was massive surprise the first time I saw him, I most certainly didn’t match that heavy voice with the guy.

Here’s a lyric video (unofficial) of his latest song, Paradise.

It’s lyrically straightforward, lighthearted and simply lovely. Vocally, rhythmically and beat-wise? It’s …

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The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)

Rated: 3.5 solid stars

Finished: 18th January 2018.

Spoiler content: Slight, nothing major.

I got to say I am pleasantly surprised I enjoyed this as much as I have. Norse mythology is not in my comfort zone but I’m excited! Events unfolded off at a snail’s pace but eventually picked up speed, the kind of speed that required an all-nighter. Magnus and his friends are racing to find the Sword of Summer before the Giants do and to delay Ragnarok, the last war and fated death of the world. Later on, I’ll be doing some comparisons with Percy Jackson from Riordan’s Greek series, just a heads up.

The characters are deliciously diverse, for instance, Malory Keen is Celtic, Thomas Jefferson is an African-American soldier who fought in the Civil War, X is a troll and Halfborn Gunderson is an honest to goodness Viking berserker. Then we have Blitzen, a dwarf with impeccable fashion sense, and the adorable but tormented Hearthstone, a deaf elf who taught Magnus ASL.

And the fantastic Samira al-Abbas, a Muslim-American Valkyrie. There’s the issue of her hijab being a shape-shifting multi-purpose fabric, some would call it a faux pas but I I beg to differ. Look I’m Hindu and I’m aware I may be lacking on some level of cultural awareness but I think it’s pretty neat. I’m curious as to what opinions Muslims have on this. And begs the question of what interesting features could a sari have?

Plot-wise, I mentioned pacing earlier. There was a remark from a reviewer where she’s noticed Riordan reapplying a similar plot formula to the Norse series from the Greeks, that it was predictable. I understand some of this but I can disagree as well.

It’s the hero-goes-on-a-quest-to-save-the-world and both Percy and Magnus had strong bonds with their mothers who were at some point threatened. It didn’t bother me because what else is supposed to happen? Their moms were crucial to their upbringing and evil people being evil used that to their advantage. They went on quest after quest but they were totally different from the other series because the Norse are another ballgame and as I’d soon learned Magnus is no Percy.

The Villains/Gods/Giants. Generally speaking, they’re an improvement from the Greek/Roman series. Loki is one slippery fecker (surprise surprise) even I was tempted to trust him. However, he did have some valid points. Which brings me to one of the primary themes, that being the fate vs. choice dilemma. Ragnarok will happen because such is the prophecy of the Norns ages ago. Two sons of Thor are fated to survive it. Fenris Wolf is fated to be released to begin the downward spiral of events, the Sword of Summer is fated to free him. It was Loki who imparted some wisdom to Magnus, one of my favourite lines:

“The thing about fate, Magnus: even if we can’t change the big picture, our choices can alter the details. That’s how we rebel against destiny, how we make our mark. What will you choose to do?”

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Poem: Meaning

i read somewhere,

that your purpose is

to give your life meaning

Clever, i’d thought then

now, never a truer thing I saw

It’s all experience, hands-on

full throttle even when time

moves at a snail’s pace

It’s a real thing, to have died

and still, be breathing, limbs moving

It was/is my experience living on this edge

To know what it means

to have a freezer-burned soul

The thaw promised growth and healing

What’s good for me was not for the polar bear

Scattered around my body

are holes i dug with my

bare fingers

Like from the earth my mother came

ivy and moss flank the trellis of my ribs

to hold myself to me,

Perhaps, i realize, not so i did not fall apart

but to contain the new thing I become

each time i change

into the thing i’m supposed to be

i know what it means to

sit quietly at dawn and to

let the dew bathe meRead More »

Short story: Doctor Kebab. Shish Kebab.

Story contains swearing

He scoops me up like one would a small sleeping child. I am neither. I scramble for bars of my cage frame but he was stronger. Thrashing wildly as I can the fucker holds on like I’m nothing. Not always a happy person, not particularly strong, but I meant something once. I could again.

“You’re making this worse, sweetheart, more than it has to be,” his breath comes in puffs of fetid peppermint.

Screaming was moot, the basement took care of that. The two men that still breathed roused from their cages, their teeth bared in feral grimaces. One throws himself against his door, the other follows suit.

I know he’s hauling me to the steel table by the incinerator where Carter’s corpse had slept. Chest split open. Organs harvested. I feel the wince crack apart dried up riverbed of tears. Hell wasn’t the destination it was just a passage to something worse than the tales, and ours had its jowls laced with ashes and flames for teeth.

I may be nothing in this moment but I’m not stupid. Faked injuries facilitated recovery time. He’d wanted to have some fun with us before he got down to business eventually. The slime was considerate enough to let me off the hook so he could start all over again.

The plan, need to follow the plan. I go lax in his arms. I sing a lullaby with my body, arms like wilting flowers and breaths leafless trees in the wind. I feel his grip ease, only a little.

Got it. My hand closes around cool metal at his hip. I need to act quickly.

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