Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I need spaceships or I get cranky

I've been building up to this one for a couple of days. Partly active social life/work consuming time related. There should be a special theory of relativity for that...putting this on my to do list. Invent time machine and give the idea to Einstein.

Okay, I'm digressing. Big time. So, to explain, the title of this blog...well, it's not a quote from the Whedonverse like most of my blog entries. No, these are words straight from the man himself.

This entry is, once regarding the pain and anguish of not going to San Diego ComicCon, specifically the awesome Firefly 10th Anniversary Reunion Panel. But also...this is about Firefly and what it means to me. As always, this will follow the usual format - chronological context of how and when I came to Firefly, followed by lots of ramblings and personal anecdotes, maybe even a little bit of gushing about stuff here and there.

As the presenter of the Panel, Jeff Jensen, said - "Let's get on with the thrilling heroics".

It was 2005, the tail end of. I was watching Film 2005, hosted back then by old Jonathan Ross. It was their "Film of the Year" show and Serenity netted the top prize. I saw the clips they played, Joss Whedon's acceptance speech and I was thinking "Hey, I actually have a total lack of awesome spaceship sci-fi. I should get this on DVD when it comes out, it looks totally cool". Roll on February 2006. I pre-ordered Serenity. It arrived...on a Wednesday, I think. I was in my penultimate year of secondary school, I was thinking about university. As soon as I came home from school, found that Serenity had been delivered, I broke open that package, put the DVD in my Xbox, played the DVD.

I fell in love.

Pure and simple here, kids. I fell in love with this movie. In the space of Serenity's two hours, I had a new favourite film. It's still my favourite film, of all time. It even beats Joss's latest epic, Avengers. Which was bad ass. But it can't hold a candle to Serenity.

Like the Hero of Canton, my love for it now, ain't hard to explain. It was the characters, the warmth, the soul of the film. It's not an epic...well, it is, but it is by not trying to be an EPIC, it's not trying to be a mind-expanding exploration of the human soul, it's not a summer blockbuster. It just is. It's a beautiful piece of simple writing, with amazing performances bringing life to characters that you absolutely truly believe are a family. It's...incredible.

And heck, kids, this is just Serenity.

Funnily enough, shortly after falling in love with Serenity, I obtained Firefly. I fell even further and deeper in love. I knew true heartbreak about the fate of certain unnamed characters. I became even more attached to the characters. And when I learned the true nature of Firefly's fate, Joss Whedon became my idol.

As a writer, you have to learn to deal with rejection. Like I said, in 2006 I was getting towards thinking about university. I previously mentioned in a prior blog post about The Writerverse that I decided, when I was 15, that I wanted to be a writer. By the time I was 17, I was coming closer to understand the trials that writers undergo and finding my idols, people to admire and hold as inspiration. Joss Whedon's refusal to let Firefly die and giving me my favourite film of all time was that inspiration. Added to that the brilliance and wit of the dialogue of his writing, the darkly beautiful humour that slips into the most serious of episodes...I have taken that and introduced it into my writing. During the days of workshops at university, it was mentioned, often positively. I owe you, Joss Whedon, for teaching me that there's always a place for dry witticism.

But this isn't the end, it's not just about the influence the show and the film had on my writing, how Joss Whedon became an inspiration. It's about the people Firefly has helped me to meet.

Ladies and menfolk, my fellow Browncoats.

It was university. By this time, I had my beloved Serenity t-shirt. To this day, one of my most complimented t-shirts. And largely due to this t-shirt, I met many, many fellow Browncoats. There are so many of us. So, so many of us. We do have a lot of other major interests, but...well...we largely came together because of Firefly, because we are Browncoats. It was that curious fact that you come across, that exclamation of "You like Firefly? So do I! That's awesome", which spirals into a much deeper, more meaningful friendship. And from that very starting point, some of my best friendships have developed. If I had not watched Serenity and fallen in love with it, who is to say I would have met these people and become such great friends? Well, might be a slight over-exaggeration, but still. Being a Browncoat has brought me closer to some wonderful people.

But the story isn't just the influence on my writing or the fellow Browncoats I've met.

I work in a café. It's been mentioned before. Now while I am determined I will be a successful writer in some shape or form...I've contemplated a back-up plan. A café. A geek café, in Bath, because I just feel there's a sad lack of a major hub of geek congregation in Bath. There's a comic book shop, but it's small. We need something bigger. With tea and coffee.

To this end, my back-up plan - Leaf on the Wind. Two-fold reference: obviously, Wash's beautiful, if slightly tragic, line from Serenity. Secondly, a reference to the fact that only loose leaf tea would be sold in this café. It would emulate the fusion of Western and Eastern furniture seen in Firefly. There would be a memorial to our most beloved, fallen character. There would be an alcohol license so we could serve, probably only late in the evenings, the cocktail, the Sereni-Tea. I would be able to justify and write-off all QMx purchases of awesome Firefly collectibles as business expenses. The only permitted expletive for staff would be "gorram". There would be a pool table, with a sign next to it saying "Management not responsible for ball failure" with the notice repeated in Mandarin underneath. All the menu boards would be in English and Mandarin. Staff would be encouraged to say "Shiny".

I would go utterly mad with power, just as I seem to have gone mad with ideas.

But then again, this is all about what Firefly means to me, so...it's to be expected.

Ladies and menfolk, I am a Browncoat, proud and tall. I aim to misbehave.

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