Monthly Archives: February 2012

Music for the Apocalypse #22: Battlestar Galactica Theme (1978)

by Apocalypse Womble

Get your geek on, ladies, this is the the good shit. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hell out of the BSG reboot, but I will always have a special place in my heart for the original. The fundamental idea was the same, and it was new and staggering: the nigh on total annihilation of the human race – a human race itself more advanced than our present culture, but still completely and utterly out-gunned by the thoroughly alien and other cylons. For of course, in the original, cylons were not created by human beings – their mechanical life evolved on its own.

Maybe the science was ropey, maybe the plots petered out, maybe the final resolution was bizarre, but the imagination here is captivating. This was an apocalypse that brought an end to twelve worlds at once. At the same time it challenged ideas about gender and attitudes towards sex. Maybe it didn’t have the same kind of gutsy message to it as the remake’s Starbuck and President Roslin, but the women forced the menfolk to accept them as viper pilots, and the character Cassiopeia foreshadows the likes of Inara as a woman in calm possession of her own sexuality. And, well, I defy you not to be stirred by this:

There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens…

Well, yeah, OK, we could do with a mention of the sisters out there fighting for survival, too, but I still say that it’s stirring stuff:

 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Apocalypses not otherwise specified: Drop Bears

Drop Bears are a serious threat. Small bears that reside in trees in Australia. It’s in the name really, they drop from heights and devour their victims in a bloody massacre and they are on the increase.

A Drop Bear apocalypse is the sort of thing no one would see coming. Literally, really who looks up anymore?

Check out the Drop Bear Aware bog for more information on drop bears and their habits.

If there is a Drop Bear apocalypse, if they get out of Australia you are going to need to take precautions. Hard hats for a start. It’s a simple, inexpensive thing that could save your life! You may want to consider a lot more kevlar in your wardrobe and don’t get too relaxed in the home, drop bears can drop from anything, door frames, ladders, curtain poles.  They are evil and tricky and want to at your flesh.

Not much is really known about them, so really all I can advise is hard hats while you do the perimeter checks each night, stay away from trees in the dark and if you are forced to camp out at the end of the world keep an eye on the sky people.

image from here

Music for the Apocalypse #21: Silent Running, Joan Baez

by Apocalypse Womble

So, this is the second glorious song recorded by Joan Baez for the Silent Running soundtrack – you can see the first, along with a synopsis of the film, here.

I get tingles every time I hear it. It starts out as a simple, hippytastic song about waiting for you man to come home with flowers in your hair and earth between your toes. Not an obvious choice for competent, self-reliant ladies to listen to in the post-apocalypse landscape, where survival is the first port of call. But as the song goes on the tone of regret and sadness seeps in. He’s not coming home; there are no flowers or happy endings anymore: ‘Tears of sorrow running deep/Running silent in my sleep’. It is a dream of past hopes that will never come true, innocent in their simplicity. This lady is on her own now.

Of course, in the film it’s from his perspective – a fantasy woman waiting for him at home that he will never go back to. By this point Lowell has taken the last forests of planet Earth and hidden them out of radio contact behind Saturn. He’s never going home; all he can hope for is that some day someone else will come out and find these habitats and restore the Earth. But we don’t have to take the male narratives as they are given. It’s a woman who’s singing, singing of her life, after goodness and love has left the world.

It can’t all be power chords. Sometimes you need to sit down and connect with your emotions. Sit together around your fire on a post-apocalypse evening and share memories of all that has been lost – sing a bit of Joan Baez.

 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Music for the Apocalypse #20: Rejoice in the Sun, by Joan Baez

by Apocalypse Womble

Zombies, plague, robots – we all know the traditional ones, but you better fear when the hippies bring apocalypse to the table. ‘Rejoice in the Sun’ is the opening theme to Silent Running, one of the most haunting and visually stunning apocalypse movies, and one that made a very big impression on my four year old mind as I sat completely not getting that the main character is a few chips short in the casino of the mind. He’s a peculiar kind of anti-hero. He’s not witty or rakishly handsome, he’s just so zealously in the right that nobody likes him except some broken down robots he programs to be his friends after he kills everyone else. Ummm.

Basically, Silent Running is the ultimate environmentalist apocalypse movie. Waterworld eat your heart out. The premise of the movie is that we fucked the world so royally that no plants can exist on Earth anymore. We put the ones we had left into biodomes and sent them into space. Then we decided that even having forests in space was an extravagant expense and told the men who had spent their lives protecting and caring for the forests to destroy them and come home. Lowell doesn’t like that, and that’s where it all starts going a bit wrong…

Anyway, there’s nothing quite like singing in the end of the world with the clear, resonating voice of Joan Baez:

This song features the lyric: ‘Gather your children to your side… Tell them all they love will die’ but carries on cheerfully to recommend Grow Your Own as a solution:

Tell them it’s not too late
Cultivate, one by one
Tell them to harvest and rejoice
In the sun

Let’s just say: it’s a song after my own heart. Even if you’re in space, you still have to dig for when the canned goods run out.

 – Apocalypse Womble out

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Ok, so we are apocalypse girls and we are going to survive, but just in case, worst case scenario I want you all to know how I expect you to deal with me.

Zombie Bite.
Shoot me between the eyes the minute I start to look fluish if i’ve been bitten. I do not want to turn into one of those mindless gross things and I do not want to take any of you with me. Shoot me, then either behead and bury or burn, whichever is most practical.

Rise of the Machines
Ok there isn’t much you can do here, either I survive or I get blown away, so just keep yourselves safe and move on. No worries.

Vampire Bite
Ok, this really depends what we are talking, if the vamps are pretty much bloodsucking fanged, day shy peopl then leave me be, I can totally rock the Lestat vibe. If they are drooling walking parasites stake me, behead me, salt and burn my bones before the sun sets on my cooling body.

Werewolf bite
yeah I don’t care what kind of were’s we are dealing with, leave me the hell alone, I have no problem at all with turning furry from time to time. *grin*

Generally speaking, what I expect from my friends is a thorough disposal. I do not want to be eaten or turned into anything gross. I don’t mind being turned into something reasonably cool, I kind of mind being dead but there are things I object to more. So, go all out, shoot me between the eyes, cut my head off, salt and burn everything, just to be sure. I appreciate it.

Get Your Fight on 2

It occurred to me after posting the last article I did that all of the feisty females were from Europe. That seems a little unfair, so I have scoured the annals to bring you more potted histories of warrior women from around the world. These are ladies who could inspire us all with their heroism, bravery and sheer determination.



Lakshmi Bai, The Rani of Jhansi 19th C. Lakshmi was the Queen of Jhansi, a state in Northern India. She became a figurehead and key player during the Indian Rebellion against the rule of the British East India Company. And a sword and buckler lady to boot, thumbs up!














Amazons

The Amazons – The Ancient Greeks first encountered these women in Northern Africa (now Libya). There were later amazons of Dahomey in West Africa. These were an elite, all female militia, that served as royal bodyguards and also priestesses.









Fu Hao

Fu Hao – One of many wives of King Wu Ding of the Shang dynasty. She was unusual in that she was also a military general of many campaigns and a high priestess who advised her husband.


































Artemisia of Caria I

Artemisia I of Caria – A general under Persian King Xerxes. After the Persians lost the battle of Salamis he commented:  “My men have turned into women, and my women into men.”

Ya Asentewa – Ashanti Queen who led the rebellion against the British in Ghana in 1900, with balls of steel:

“If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight until the last of us falls in the battlefield.”



Arachidamia – Spartan Princess 3rd Century BC. When the council of elders suggested sending the Spartan women to Crete during the seige of Lacadaemon, Arachidamea entered the forum with a sword and shield in protest, contesting the idea that the women were expected to survive their own city. She then directed the Spartan women in assisting the battle, digging trenches and running weapons and food to the men.



Hangaku Gozen – Female Samurai, Japan 13th C. Loyal to the Shogun, Lady Hangaku took up a defensive position in a fortress and commanded 3,000 warriors against 10,000 enemy troops during the Kennin uprising. She was said to have been extremely beautiful, and wielded a naginata in battle.


Aijaruc – Tartar Princess 13th C. She refused to marry any man she could defeat in single combat and as a result won 10,000 horses for her father. Marco Polo wrote:


“This damsel was very beautiful, but also so strong and brave that in all her father’s realm there was no man who could outdo her in feats of strength. In all trials she showed greater strength than any man of them.” 





















Maria Quitéria – Brazilian soldier and national heroine 19th C. She cross-dressed to serve in the Brazilian war of independence.



Yim Wing Chun – 18th C Chinese Novice Nun. The creator of the martial art from whom we take the name, it was taught to Yim by her mentor Ng Mui, a Shaolin Abbess, who came up with the idea after seeing a crane fighting a snake. Yim developed this art and used to defend herself against a man who was trying to force her into marrying him.


Get your fight on

When planning for a dystopian future it’s sensible to look to the past for inspiration (it doesn’t get much bleaker than that, right?). 
Women weren’t always constrained by society from taking part in combat. High born ladies liberated by the death of a spouse or parent sometimes found themselves inheriting an army, or exposed to sword training normally only reserved for male siblings. Others of lower birth cross-dressed and carved careers for themselves living as men. Some were just in the right (if you count it as lucky) place at the right time. 
So I thought to get ourselves motivated for the end-times, savagery, and survival against the odds we ought to check in with some fighting femmes of yesteryear. There are SO MANY examples you can look to, this is just a small selection.

La Maupin – A fiery, flamboyant, cross-dressing bisexual French swordswoman of the 17th C. She killed at least ten men in duels, and was also a star of the Paris opera scene.

Ana de Mendoza de la Cerda – A Spanish aristocrat of the 16th C. Despite losing her eye in a fencing duel she was considered among the most beautiful ladies at court, and was one of the most talented women of her time.

Jeanne D’Arc – Perhaps the most famous of all. A farm girl who led the desperate French to several victories during the hundred years war, she was later burned at the stake by the English as a witch.

Ann Mills – British sailor 18th C. Ann was a daring female dragoon not averse to a spot of head collection.











Bona Lombarda – 15th C Italian peasant turned condottiere. Kidnapped at fifteen by infantry captain Pietro Brunoro, their relationship developed until Lombarda became his lieutenant and constant companion. After many battles, she tirelessly petitioned for his release when he was imprisoned for treason for ten years, after which they eventually married. At the siege of Castello di Pavone, when it had fallen to the Milanese with Brunoro held hostage, it was Lombarda who, armoured from head to toe and armed with sword and shield, led the recapture of the fortress: “She was the reason the fortress was retaken and she was the first to place her foot inside.”

Catalina de Erauso – 17th C Spanish soldier. She left the convent at 15, having never even seen a street, disguised herself as a boy and signed up to become a soldier in Spanish America.  Awarded special dispensation from the pope to continue to dress in men’s clothing after her secret was revealed, Catalina loved a scrap:
I approached him from behind and said, “Ah, Señor Reyes!”
He turned and asked, “What do you want?”
I said, “This is the face you were thinking of cutting up,” and gave him a slash worth ten stitches.
He clutched at the wound with both hands, his friend drew his sword and came at me, and I went at him with my own. We met, I thrust the blade through his left side and down he went.”

Caterina Sforza – A 15th C Italian noblewoman. Skilled with the sword and given to bold gestures in the face of adversity to protect her family. Most notably when her children were held by invading soldiers at swordpoint Caterina lifted her skirts and yelled “I can make more!”
Mary Read and Anne Bonny – these ladies were true ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, getting into all kinds of high jinks. They were hard fighters and fast lovers who managed to evade the gallows even after capture.

The Princess and the Very High Room

by Apocalypse Womble

Wherever you find yourselves, ladies, keep your wits about you and you will always be able to turn your situation to your advantage.



 This princess is apocalypse ready, are you?

 – Apocalypse Womble out.

The Ultimate Fantasy Weapon

Taking a break from the ANOS (apocalypses not otherwise specified) I thought I’d take a moment to showcase what would come top of my list of ‘desirable but not necessarily real weaponry’.

Ladies (and of course gentlemen) I present to you: The Chainsaw Katana



This is the ultimate weapon of choice for the discerning zombie slayer. It has everything a slayer might need – a high-powered, many toothed electric chainsaw and the cutting ability and reach of the elegantly deadly katana.

This picture is from a brilliant and insane apocalyptic Japanese movie called HellDriver. I leave you with its superb and rather mind boggling trailer. This may be the bloodiest, most bizarre movie I have ever seen.


In other words I highly recommend it.

Know Your Idols #21 : Ace

by honeybadger

Another of our Dr Who companions, much beloved of British girls. For me, much as I loved Rose, Martha and Pond, there is only really one companion, the companion of my childhood. Ace.

What’s her deal? Ace was a tomboy with a bomber jacket and a baseball bat. She was tough, practical, scared of clowns and utterly loyal to the Dr even though he was nothing to look at in those days. Ace liked to blow stuff up (got her into trouble at school) and seems to think the Dr is pretty much going to get himself killed if she doesn’t keep an eye on him. Similarly the Dr tries to educate Ace a little on their travels. She breaks tradition and gives him her own nickname ‘Professor’. She met the Dr on another world having had a troubled life on earth. Love this girl. Her real name btw is Dorothy.

Research:
Dr Who: Remembrance of the Daleks, Silver Nemesis and Curse of Fenric among others.

Ace was fantastic, just a regular tom boy kicking ass and travelling the universe. She’d have made a good Apocalypse Girl I think. Sadly I haven’t found a source of quotes but if any one else does let me know.

Honeybadger out.

Categories