A Review of Ian Blackport’s “Those Who Remain”

Book Reviews
I like zombocs. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the apocalyptic genre, though insanely terrifying, also makes one extremely grateful for their current lot in life. Maybe that’s the allure. Like a subversive life gratitude lesson.
Canadian author Ian Blackport adds a piece to the dystopian/fantasy/zomboc genre with his interesting “Those Who Remain”. It’s hard to be creative and original in the genre of a world where unhumans co-exist with humans, but Mr. Blackport manages to eke some novelty into it.
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“Those Who Remain” has two sisters, who, well, remain in a British world full of danger and inhumanity. 10 years have passed since an incurable pandemic wiped out the population, and these two sisters try to hold onto whatever fleeting glimpses of hope to once again live happily.
Blackport’s portrayal of the intimate and strong relationship between the two sisters. They seem to have lost individuality on their journey, and instead co-exist in the bleak world that is depicted very clearly. Human emotions are what would guarantee death, so they must succumb to a hardness that is unnatural to them. In order to survive, they have to change.
A clever commentary on humanity in the face of inhumanity prevails here, making “Those Who Remain” more than your average fantasy book. It’s a post-modern take on what post-modernism is in the literal sense.
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Unbroken: Looking at “Who Broke The Girl?” by Christina Costantino

Book Reviews

A memoir by definition, “Who Broke The Girl?” is more of a rhetorical question more than anything. Written by New Yorker Christina Costantino, the novel is a ethereal recounting of one woman’s life in one particular set of circumstances.

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It’s lyrical and simple. It is the simplicity of her words that make the book resonant.  The shared stories and experiences of the author as she navigates through life  across as a song. The melody gets in your head like an earworm, except the lyrics aren’t superficial. Instead, they are emotions conveyed through the medium of humanity.

Resilience is a skill we all want, and, to a certain extent, require to live a long and happy life. “Who Broke The Girl?” gives a personal edge to some life lessons that can apply to anyone’s life, without placing the blame on everyone else but one’s self.

 

An Interview with Premier Photographer to the British Stars: Roger Sargent

Best of 2016, Concert, Film, Music, Random Musings

After building up suspense over the past few days, it has come time for us to reveal our extremely fortunate opportunity to post our exclusive interview with the man behind all of the photographs highlighted in the clues.

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Oasis

Roger Sargent, savant photographer of some of British music’s biggest names EVER, graciously accepted an interview request from Reading Other People. This is the man who photographed everyone from Suede to Blur, from Paul Weller to Richard Ashcroft. And, oh,  did I mention he’s the genius behind the infamous Libertines record we posted a few days back?

Now, for your reading pleasure, check out our intimate interview with the awesome-beyond-words Roger Sargent.

Reading Other People (ROP): First of all, I thank you a million times for allowing me to interview you. It’s an honour. Your portfolio is literally a whos-who of not only my all-time favorite artists, but a testament to timeless photography. How do you go about selecting your subjects?

Roger  Sargent (RS): I literally go with what I’m currently buzzing off. I think throughout my life I’ve always retained that excitement for the new, it keeps me young (ish) and inspired. New bands are less jaded and still love being around each other. So largely I’m continuing to discover new bands the same way I always did – radio, word of mouth, YouTube. There are fewer and fewer magazines left now so I tend to contact the bands and labels direct.

ROP:  How did you come upon a career in photography? You clearly have an innate talent to capture both the solitude and intimacy of your subjects.

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Liam Gallagher and Tom Meighan

RS: When I was fifteen I kinda new what I wanted to do – shoot for NME. I was lucky enough to achieve that about five years later having studied photography at university. I think one (of many) things that my course leader Daniel Meadows taught us was “if it’s not good enough, you’re not close enough”

ROP: Cat Power…The Libertines…true renegades of rock music. Is there something about their ferocity that attracts you?

RS: I like to feel (at first) a little intimidated by bands, great artists always have that spark and potential for chaos. The feeling that literally anything can happen.

ROP: How do you choose to style the shoot? Do you let the artist be organic, or is there more staging going on?

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The Libertines

RS: That really depends on who. Some artists have an innate sense of self others need a little help. I like when bands look like a unit, that something gels them together. That can even be an abstract uniformity. It’s easy enough to tweak things but way more satisfying when it’s all “there”.

ROP:  Is there a medium that is your true favorite? Photography? Video? An amalgam of both?

RS: At the moment video, but it’s still pretty new to me. The two have so many similarities. I’m a little down on the photography medium because there are increasingly fewer outlets for it to exist. But everything changes and it’s not like it will die. But it needs to be valued more.

ROP: You shot the Boo Radley’s! Were you able to get “Wake Up, Boo” out of your head at all whilst shooting?

RS: Ha! No! But happily so. I was there during the recording of the album. It’s still a great favourite of mine. Happy times. Though Martin (Carr) told me recently he still can’t listen to any of those records, which is a shame.

ROP: What’s your take on modern music today? Who have you been listening to?

RS: There’s loads of great stuff happening at the moment. I tend to listen to what I’m involved With. So, Sunflower Bean, a lot. Fat white Family, Sleaford Mods.

 ROP:Who is your dream subject to photograph, either alive or dead?

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Richard Ashcroft

RS: The Doors would have been fun. But honestly, it’s the next truly exciting talent I’m more interested in.

ROP: Your portfolio is like a scrapbook of my favorite artists. Where’s the Belle and Sebastian pic?

RS: I did shoot them live once….but back in the day they were incredibly camera shy and hated the NME. Two things that didn’t help!

ROP: If you had to choose three words to describe your style, what would they be?

RS: Honest, intimate, reflective.

ROP: What advice do you have for aspiring writers and photographers around the globe?

RS: Be unique!

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Roger Sargent

 

Visit Roger’s website  st https://rogersargent.carbonmade.com/ for more info about him, and to check out more of his portfolio.

Upcoming Interview Exclusive to Reading Other People

Random Musings

Oh boy, do we have a treat for you.

Exclusive to Reading Other People, we have a rather awesome interview coming up. We’ll be posting some rather cryptic clues in the coming days, though for those of you who can spot the common thread, it’ll be an easy guess.

Are you ready? Because here’s your first clue:

Libertines-album

And…go! Start guessing!

Enchanting “Grey Gardens” in Toronto

Best of 2016, Live Events, Rave!, Toronto Events

I had no idea what to expect when checking out the Acting Up Stage production of the stage musical version of the classic documentary “Grey Gardens”. Was it going to be a farce? Would it be a veritable humorous look at Edith Bouvier Beale, and her daughter, Edie, the two stars of 1976’s “Grey Gardens”? I just didn’t know. I did know there was a Broadway production of this musical retelling starring the incomparable Christine Ebersole, and I happened to catch her performance of the showstopper “The Revolutonary Costume for Today”, but that was the extent of my familiarity with the musical.

The documentary film, on the other hand, is vital part of my film canon of favorites. Revisiting the film every few years brings me a different perspective on the documentation of these two women with big dreams, big souls, and, most sadly of all, empty pockets. I just don’t think the world was ready for them. I think you’ll feel the same way too if you haven’t seen the film already.

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Back to last night’s spectacle on modern society and the plight of maniacal hope. The musical was breathtaking and refreshing. It not only didn’t poke fun at the situations that had befallen this mother/daughter duo, but it shed some light on a relationship that was at once both stifling yet interdependent beyond words. The two women were shadows of one another, not whole without the other. Little Edie, played ferociously by the amazing actress Lisa Horner of stage fame and success. It was a tour-de-force performance, and I was clearly not the only audience member riveted by every mannerism, every movement that Horner made on the stage. With eloquent stage production that was subtle but effective, “Grey Gardens” as a musical is a commentary on modern society’s insatiable need to build someone up and watch them fall.

You can read more about the show online at your own leisure because I can’t and don’t want to summarize this beautiful production for you. It’s intimate and claustrophobic, but also emotionally and mentally open. I really, really, really liked it. All my Torontonian readers, please, please go see it. It’s only here for a short time at the Berkeley Street Theatre (https://goo.gl/LkpnAM).