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30 June 2008 @ 08:29 pm
Best Top Gear EVER, plus, the AS/S Fest  
I watched the most magnificent episode of Top Gear tonight. Be aware that SBS (a free government channel affectionately and accurately known as Sex Before Soccer here) screens episodes quite some time after they are screened in the UK. I think their theory is that since no one can afford a Bugatti Veyron, it doesn't really matter when we see it on the track.
Tonight the team raced across London, from somewhere that may well have been Gunnersbury Park (the kitten jumped on my head at that bit), all the way across to London City Airport. James, Captain Slow, drove a giant Chelsea Tractor by Mercedes. Richard rode an astonishingly sexy carbon-framed bicycle. The Stig took public transport: bus, Tube and light rail. Jeremy, the lucky, lucky fucker, drove a Cougar jetboat down the Thames.

It was splendid. Richard showed me a London that had improved slightly since the days I used to fang across it on two Brammers-powered wheels. There are now 412m of cyclepaths, from what I can gather, as opposed to the 6.7m of my youth. Ah Boris, live up to your hype in this one way at least. Make it a whole mile before you go ...

Jeremy had the most fun, he ambled through the speed restricted parts of the river, looking for all the world as though he was Ratty, then opened up the throttles once in unrestricted waters, leading to the Best Ever radio call as he approached the Barrier: "London BTS London BTS, This is Red Cougar requesting permission to take the Barrier at speed."

I have a new goal in life: to one day say something similar.

Needless to say, permission was granted. Imagine his horror when he was beaten by Richard in the actual race. The Hamster was sweaty and filled with hatred of busses and red lights,  but definitely there first. And I have now a tiny part of my brain saying: "Actually, you paid $1600 for a bike when you earned a third of what you earn now, so £1600 is proportionally cheaper ..."

Alas, I am not allowed to cycle in Sydney these days, since the city is determined to kill me. But I could move.

For the record, The Stig came third, James and the car came last. As Jeremy put it, they have killed the entire reason for Top Gear.

Now, to the AS/S Fest.

When sign-ups were happening, the mods were horribly cruel and asked that we include an age listing. Reading through I realised that I am the equivalent of 140 years old. But I thought it would be fun, and so threw my hat into the ring. It actually was fun, and the mods were relaxed and supportive (which is, of course, shorthand for understood when I needed an extension (to be fair to me, my original recipient dropped out.))

I am miles behind at reading, and feeling very guilty about it. But I have been reading some meta about the fest and the characters, which has me thinking. There have been some folk rabbiting on about how Scorpius or Albus is X or Y, and never, ever A or B. I dispute their canonical basis for these assertions. A hair colour and first-day nerves do not equal a character study.

wemyss has written persuasively that it is not lazy to look to the canon characters to give us guides for writing and reading these next-gen characters, since most of us are heavily influenced by our parents and other relatives (read it here), which I find an interesting position.

Others have said that they find the characters utterly uninteresting, or the writing on them too young. To which I say "Look, modesty forbids me suggesting you should read or like my story, but for the love of tiny bunnies, people, sansa1970's Man's Dwelling Place is anything but immature!"  (Read it here if you are not on her flist)

ETA And, due to being hit in the head with one too many moving vehicles, I completely forgot about mistful's Coda to an Epilogue, which is another very convincing reason as to why next-gen can be fascinating. (Is it just me who sees a lot of Flora Segunda in Scorpius's mum? That's FS the novel, not the character.) End edit.

Of course, that said, a lot of the writing on next gen characters is very young. But there's some surprisingly good stuff in this fest. And if young writers are supported and encouraged, they go on to become older writers, and produce a great deal of good reading along the way. So, for purely selfish reasons, you should stop by and take a peek. Try these for starters:

A Wizard's Guide to Pocket Dwelling is a story I should never have liked, filled as it is with angst, self-destruction and a spot more angst, but it's great. The writing is assured and focussed, and the tightly constructed story never flags. Albus Potter is spiralling downwards since his father died, and he's not the only one. His best friend is feeling fairly low and reptilian himself. The only thing keeping either of them going is the relationship between them, and it's as fucked-up as they are.

Through Harry's Eyes is similar to Pocket in that it has an unusual voice, but otherwise it is a different kettle of fish: it's AS/S told through a very close Harry POV, with confusion aplenty. Sweet, funny and just a teeny bit fluffy, this is a gentle and well-written tale that shines an unusual light on the concept of future!Potter.

The Rules of Malfoy Manor
received quite a few recs a few weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning for those who missed it. Light, bright and short, this is an hilarious little romp through the changing rules that govern life with the Malfoys in the post-War years.

What about you? Any AS/S you'd like to shake?
parallel parking prodigyempress_jae on June 30th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
aww boo. libby_drew's link is flocked.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - empress_jae on June 30th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - empress_jae on June 30th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shivshiv5468 on June 30th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Top Gear is splendid.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
I think so. I accept that others differ, but since I have never driven a car, I feel I have the moral high ground on carbon emissions.
Vaysh Swiftstorm: Draco_regretvaysh on June 30th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
An AS/S fic which thoroughly convinced me of this pairing is The Game of Love. Thanks for the reccs!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh this is bad, I have started reading it and it's great. Damn, I was meant to clean now my back is mostly better!
(no subject) - vaysh on June 30th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - marguerite_26 on June 30th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on June 30th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
I am bookmarking the reveal list and will read at that point. :)

But I believe that the age of the writer doesn't necessarily determine the maturity of the writing. Zadie Smith wrote White Teeth in her early 20's. reposoir wrote Things That Change (a mature and thoughtful novel-length fic about Harry, Draco, and their children) at around the same age. Rimbaud stopped writing in his early 20s. Keats died at 25.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Oh the writing is young, the writers aren't necessarily so!
(no subject) - norton_gale on June 30th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
There have been some wonderful stories to come out of this fest. The ones you mentioned and another I'm thinking of. ;) I personally love the pairing, and I've been a bit disheartened to hear so many people bemoan the "instant" cliches surrounding the more common plot lines. It's not as though the same phenomenon doesn't exist for H/D.

Thanks for the post! The fest deserves more exposure.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I am interested in what happens before and after canon. It's your fault I caught the AS/S bug, but they genuinely excite me as story possibilities, because you can do anything with them and their world, so long as it's plausible. At the same time, I am really interested in the James Snr era, especially Remus Lupin. How does he fit with them? Obviously he's shagging Sirius, but how did that start?

(no subject) - libby_drew on June 30th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - potterotic on June 30th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - libby_drew on July 4th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Camden: AS/SShowingabusing_sarcasm on June 30th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
As an AS/S woman from way back, I have a few good recs for you...

This Year's Love by hollycomb is one of my all-time favorites.
All parts in her memories. Winter I is the first part.

Drinking Coffee or Reading Lies by otempora01 is completely adorable and has the sweetest timid!Albus ever!

The Definition of Stalker by emma_maelstrom is a deliciously hot one-shot that had me squirming, and I'm a smut queen...

Something Worth Waiting For by bageldelight. In the interest of full disclosure, Candi is one of my best friends on Earth, but this is a sweet story with lovely, LOVELY sexual tension, and one of the best OC's of all time - so beloved in fact that he has his own story in the pipeline...

And since I'm going to put my money where my mouth is (and since I'm definitely not too young!) I submit my very favorite of my own AS/S writings, Runway. This is a WIP, but I update frequently and I WILL finish - I'm a professional writer and would be forever shamed if I didn't finish a project. The NC-17 chapters are f-locked, but I'll friend anyone who wants to read.

As I said, I'm a professional writer, so my standards are HIGH as far as what I'll read and rec.

Thanks for the opportunity to pimp! :D

blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This Year's Love was on my list of to-reads. I think I glanced at it when it first came out on a comm, and thought I would wait till it was done to read it. The others all look good, though I'm going to finish a few of my outstanding stories before I sit down to a big non-fest AS/S read; or I will be smacked my my beta. And she's a keen smacker.

I'll pass the list on to others who ask!
(no subject) - bryoneybrynn on June 30th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Heather: AS/Sfaynia on June 30th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
You watch Top Gear too? I watch it vicariously through my best friend, who watches episodes and then links me to the better moments. Since I don't care much one way or another about cars, this arrangement works out well for me.

I love the AS/S pairing with a burning, but my biggest problem is with the people who won't touch it with a pole because the EPILOGUE WAS HORRIBLE OMG!!11!1!!!! And then get on your case for liking it at all.

I'm starting to become very gen though with the Epilogue. I love exploring Harry and Ginny's relationships with their children, mainly because I love fluffy family stories, but I'm more or less in a minority with that. *G*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
Actually, I largely agree with you. You need to have some degree of relationship between Harry, Ginny and the kids, even if it's all cocked up. Fluffy family is not such a bad thing; how do you get there from what was a time of trauma and craziness? That can be just as interesting a story as the ones of broken people.

I ADORE Top Gear, even though I cannot drive. It's like watching a really good comedy/drama that has cars. I follow Formula One for the same reason.
(no subject) - faynia on June 30th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - faynia on June 30th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - faynia on June 30th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
potterotic: SCORPIUSpotterotic on June 30th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
YOUR wonderful A/S fic is what made me a fan. I can't wait to see which is yours in the reveal so I can gobble it up.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
You are too kind, but do have a peek at some of the fest ones, too, even if it's only the above; they're all good reads!
Pureblood Princessraitala on June 30th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
Yay, I really enjoyed that Top Gear episode when it was aired over here. I don't usually watch, but was flicking around and got hooked. :D

Yours and Mistful's AS/S got me interested enough to sign up for the fest. I'm looking forward to reading your recs too because I found myself slightly put off by the 'young' nature of what I was reading in the fest and have fallen out of the habit of reading it.

I'm afraid my AS/S is more or less H/D in a pitifully flimsy disguise :/ I need to read a number more well written AS/S fics to flesh out those characters for me.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 30th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
OMG! I am the queen of brain damage! (And that's due to a taxi to the head, not me being rude) -- I COMPLETELY forgot about Mistful's story, despite thinking it was great! ARGH! *Runs away doing Muppet arms to rectify oversight*

And nothing you create is flimsy :-P

(I think you should speed up and down the Thames on a speedboat for your honeymoon. It may break the budget further, but still, it would be fun!)
(no subject) - raitala on July 1st, 2008 11:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 11:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - raitala on July 1st, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
maggie: ass: epiloguemarguerite_26 on June 30th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Even as a fan of as/s I style fall a bit into thinking the as/s is an 'immature pairing' compared to HD or Snarry. I pick one up when I need a bit of fluff, but their stories can be just as complex and enthralling as any other pairing.

This fest has really turned out great fics and hopefully has convinced others not to write it off.

Btw - another great one from the fest is Penitence. Charming and sweet and funny. A classic as/s written from sorting to fifth year but with enough twists to make it fresh.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Cool! I will catch up with it! Yes, I have been surprised at the number of arse-kicking fics that have appeared, it's quite encouraging.
kayleigh_jane: Sexy Malfoykayleigh_jane on June 30th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
Top Gear is fantastic. The BBC is airing the new series on sunday evening at the moment.
My most favourite episode will probably always be the one where they go camping with a caravan (right word?) and everything goes wrong. Eventually they set it on fire, I believe. (The fire was accidental, or so it seemed...)
I do drive, but the fun for me is mostly in the insane things they do and the amazingly pretty cars. The bickering like an old married threesome is just a bonus...:D

As for AS/S, at the moment I'm reading Three steps back by scoradh, sequel to The road less traveled. It's quite good, very original in the Sorting and OC department.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
That was a brilliant episode. I loved James crashing the caravan at the service station. And poor old Top Gear Dog ...

I had thought I had read both of those, but I haven't! *adds to the list*
dazzle43dazzle43 on June 30th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I loved that ep of Top Gear also!!! I near wet myself larfing when Hamster & Clarkson realised 'we've broken Top Gear'!!! Sux that SBS takes SO damn long 2 screen the eps, but they're well worth the wait!!!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
SBS are slow, but on the other hand they fill up their evening schedules with art films, or, as my American friend put it: "You government gives you free porn? This is the greatest country in the world!"

Australia is devoid of cycleable roads and really good museums, but there will always be the free porn.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on July 1st, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
That call to the barrier was awesome! We love Top Gear - it makes us happy in our pants here at Kayos!

Did you see that trek across Africa? I'd have taken the Beetle to start with! lol

Damn, now there's a stack more recs in the post for A/S fics I should read. Shows how much attention I've been paying, I didn't know you'd written for the fest *headdesk* and I've only been picking at the edges of it.

I loved all your listed fics - Maya's made me cry like a baby, not because it was particularly sad, but because she nailed it, and it was her last ever HP fic, and it felt like saying goodbye.

I'm supposed to be scraping my crap together to get to the office today for an hour or two. Bah!

*hugs in passing*
Meredythmeredyth_13 on July 1st, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
ps. Move to Melbourne, we have bike paths...

*enables evolly*
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 03:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - orpheneritus on June 22nd, 2010 10:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meredyth_13 on July 1st, 2008 06:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
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i can see your house from herewho_la_hoop on July 1st, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
I quite enjoyed Love is a Many Splendored Thing over on the fest comm (although alas! I want to put a 'u' in Splendoured so bad!). It made me giggle quite a few times. It felt teenage, but in a good way!

I love how you phrase your thoughts on 'young writers' in the AS/S fest :D You are so very polite! *grins*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
I shall add it to my list!

And young =/= bad, sometimes it = dodgy but with potential, and sometimes it = full of verve and life.

Not that I would know any more, being aged.
(no subject) - who_la_hoop on July 1st, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on July 1st, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - who_la_hoop on July 1st, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)