Monthly Archives: May 2012

Music for the Apocalypse #34: Brave New World, by Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden have been suggested to me several times for this series, and this song in particular. I was waiting until the moment was right, and I feel the time has come. Rock out, ladies!

I did wonder whether ‘Brave New World’ really counted as apocalyptic. The lyrics certainly have an apocalyptic ring:

Dragon kings dying queens, where is salvation now
Lost my life lost my dreams, rip the bones from my flesh
Silent screams laughing here, dying to tell you the truth
You are planned and you are damned in this brave new world

But the book on which the song is based, Brave New World is more dystopic than apocalyptic, and this comes out in the lyrics, too: ‘Dying to tell you the truth / You are planned and you are damned in this brave new world’. This is clearly about trying to get a message of warning (the truth) out about the dangers of the dystopic society – nobody really lives in a world where their lives are ‘planned’ out for them by the state.

Of course, there are a lot of songs in this series that are not strictly apocalyptic in nature, but which we have recommended to you as a good soundtrack for the apocalypse nonetheless. However, it seemed an interesting question to me: just what is the relationship between the dystopic and the apocalyptic. They certainly share key themes. Brave New World is concerned with the apparent dichotomy between civilisation and nature. The old theme that the civilised world corrupts, that technology that seeks to interfere too much with nature risks ‘damning’ us, either because it is seen as an attempt to interfere with God’s plan, or because nature itself is venerated. Apocalyptic fiction, art, and music is similarly concerned with the themes of civilisation and nature. Where dystopia explores this by positing ‘over’-civilised worlds, apocalypse does so by destroying civilisation and forcibly returning us to a state of nature. In this case, however, nature is rarely kind. There is usually some descent in to barbarism as warring tribes battle it out for resources and territory.

And yet, I suspect this dichotomy of apocalypse and dystopia is as artificial as that between nature and civilisation. They idea that anything could become ‘unnatural’ has always puzzled me – after all, human beings are natural creatures; why should their actions in some cases be deemed natural and in others (typically those concerned with creating advances technology or novel political systems) not? Close examination of apocalyptic texts reveals that they are usually more complex and nuanced. In The Stand after the initial outbreak of looting and vandalism, most survivors seem concerned with rebuilding civiliastion – regardless of whether they side with Abagail Freemantle or with Randall Flag. The factionalism arises because of differing ideals of what it is to be civilised. Even in films like Mad Max II and III, which might seem archetypal of the descent into barbarism and ‘state of nature’, the tribes war over possession of gasoline, which is itself a product of and enabler of civilised technologies (chiefly, transportation – so crucial in the barren Australian environment for people unused to surviving in the Outback*).

Equally, in dystopic fiction, the dystopia is often set against the backdrop of a savage outside world, from which the inhabitants are walled off for their own safety. Thus, in Logan’s Run, the world outside the domes is an overgrown wilderness that had been abandoned following some catastrophe. The rigidly stratified world where people are killed once they reach 30 has come into existence in order to deal with the constraints on resources forced by the retreat into the domes. Brave New World similarly suggests a world where a happy, comfortable life is preserved via population control and a rigid caste system, but a ‘savage’ world still persists outside the boundaries of that system. Moreover, a recurring theme of dystopic fiction is a sort of stagnation born of such oppressive societies that might be seen as the end of one sort of world: the death of imagination.

Are dystopic and apocalyptic fiction the same? No, but they are flip-sides of the same coin. Dystopia can arise out of apocalypse and apocalypse can ‘free’ us from dystopia, but in such cases the one hangs in the background of the other, asking questions. Is it really that awesome to be ‘freed’ from responsibility? Is it really so great to be ‘freed’ from civilisation? 


Play this song when you’re feeling sad about the world that has been lost. If you’re stuck in a post-apocalypse world it can be good to blast out a song with an angry beat to remind you that not everything that’s gone was good.


 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Know Your Idols #26 Saga Norén

Know Your Idols #26 Saga Noren

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

What’s her deal?

Nordic crime has been all the rage since The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but the latest import to come south, The Bridge [Bron/Broen], has a heroine who would kick Lisbeth’s ass because she is the vortex of cool. Unlike seemingly every other kickass heroine these days, however, Saga didn’t have to be raped to be strong — she just is intelligent, dogged and extremely tough. She seems to exhibit the characteristics of Asperger’s but remains highly functional. With her Danish partner Martin, the shambling bundle of well-meaning but ego-gratifying regular guy, Saga also begins to deal with the pain in her past by studying the wreck Martin makes of his life. And she learns — Saga begins to understand human relations as she focuses her laser-like intensity on an increasingly bizarre and complicated case — and goes mano a mano with a serial killer and takes bullets and drives a Porsche. The whole case relies upon her sharp observation and razor-sharp mind.

Research:

Mini-series, dual language in Swedish and Danish. Lots of atmospheric shots of the Øresund Bridge between Mälmo and Copenhagen. Saga is played by Sofia Helin.

She Says:

 Typical behaviour has Saga evincing puzzlement and surprise that other people like praise and expect it. She often regards her colleagues as if they were some kind of alien species whose actions are often trivial and unfathomable. There’s a bit of a joke here on the differences between Swedes and Danes that are not going to be too apparent to most of the viewers in English: I remember a Dane telling me quite humorously that Swedish trains don’t say “No smoking” but rather “No smoking cigarettes, no smoking pipes, no smoking cigars…” Well, you get the picture. Saga and Martin just blow up the stereotypes to the extreme.

I didn’t plan to watch the series. I can seldom watch a series, but I got hooked in and sat there Sat night watching it as broadcast — shrieking at the end of episode nine. Saga is well worth your time: you’ll want her on your side come the apocalypse.

Invasion? What invasion?

In response to “Canada Prepares for Zombie Apocalypse”, I thought I ought to share my family’s recent holiday video with you. British Columbia is a lovely place, but we’re accustomed to living under the constant shadow of disaster, and taught from an early age to prepare for earthquakes, tsunamis, bear attacks, avalanches, and generally a million ways that Mother Nature might open her maw and eat us. Of course, with such constant vigilance, there comes the danger of growing complacent… (Save the world? Not today — I’m on vacation in Tofino!)

Music for the Apocalypse – Special Edition: RIP Peter Jones

Peter Jones, the drummer from Crowded House, has died, at just 45 years of age.

Here at The Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse, we know the value music has in human survival – pretty much anywhere – and would like to do our bit to honour his passing.

I first came in contact with Crowded House via that apocalypse classic, The Stand. Their song, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was part of the superb soundtrack of the 1994 mini-series (the same year Peter Jones joined the band). It is haunting, beautiful, hopeful and sad. Perfect for two survivors to listen to by candlelight, to dream that the world isn’t over just because everyone has died, to contemplate beginning a journey, battling for a new future. Or awkwardly exchanging mixed signals.

I loved this song so much I taped it off the telly. Of course, it wasn’t written for the apocalypse, but the same messages of hope in the face of a difficult world ring true. In playing songs like this, Peter Jones performed true works of art. His presence in the world shifted the balance towards the positive, and that’s the best that any of us can hope for.

Don’t Dream it’s Over is available on Amazon for £0.89.

Rest well. We loved your music, and we will take it with us, to the end of the world, and whatever may happen after.

 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Canada prepares for Zombie Apocalypse

by GClarkHellery

Government officials of Canada’s west coast are launching a campaign to encourage tourists and residents alike to prepare for a possible zombie apocalypse. Do they know something we don’t?

For some of their survival tips check out their website here but remember, a true Apocalypse Girl is always ready!

Know Your Idols #25 Miss Marple

Ok now hear me out… we don’t get to know Jane Marple until she is already elderly and even then she earns the epithet Nemesis from a rich, powerful, cantankerous old man. There is a lot we can learn from this elderly spinster from a Devon village.

What’s her deal?
Miss Jane Marple is an elderly spinster from St Mary’s Mead, a small village in Devon, not far from Torquay. The vilagers may see Marple as a nice but nosy old thing but many a murderer has fallen foul of her supremely sharp mind. Thing is, Marple messes with murderers all over the world, thanks to her endless network of nephews and friends from all walks of life, often putting herself in danger but she never falls foul of evil doers.

‘Aunt’ Jane is whip smart and extremely resourceful and once the local police accept that she is always right they usually cooperate.

Research:
12 novels and a number of short stories by Agatha Christie featured Miss Marple
Numerous film and TV versions however we recommend the Joan Hickson ones.

She Says:
Oh, dear. I’m afraid I must put a cat amongst the Inspector’s pigeons

Lawrence Redding: Nothing gets past you, Miss Marple, does it?
Miss Jane Marple: [smiling] Hardly ever, young man.

Murder is never simple. We would be foolish, stupid, to ignore any possibility.

Miss Jane Marple: [realizing who committed the murder and how it was done, smiling] How clever! [then frowning]  How wicked!

and almost as thought it was written for the apocalypse girls
We’re all very ordinary in St. Mary Mead, but ordinary people can sometimes do the most astonishing things.

Miss Jane Marple: Don’t look so frightened, my dear. I’ve done my quota of murders for today.

Miss Jane Marple is a great example of brains over brawn and that even the frail can achieve a great deal with courage, determination and wit. As apocalypse girls we should all keep in mind that out muscled does not mean out manoeuvred. One also wonders what Jane Marple was like as a young women, given all her connections it does not make sense that she spent her whole life being proper in an English village.

Guest Girl: MadameNottm Shoe badge winner

Now, as we all know, a lady always feels better when she’s got *just* the right shoes for an outfit. There may be recession, there may be doom and gloom, Skynet is well overdue for going rogue and the Zombie apocalypse is just around the corner – not to mention those blasted Mayans saying the world will end this year – but we’ll all sleep soundly knowing that we have the Perfect Pair Of Pumps ready to jump into when all hell breaks loose.

With all the warnings that have surfaced over the last few years it has been my own grail quest to search out and obtain the right equipment for every eventuality. After all, when the shit hits the fan, Monolo Blahnik and Christian Loboutin are hardly still going to be making those gems are they? (Although, when the world does end, I intend to trek to Harrods to dig myself in for the duration. This girl is SMART)
My search has been with you in mind dear reader and I can confidently say that I have THE wardrobe to cope with any eventuality.

So, in the interest of making sure that we, the fairer – not to say the STRONGER – sex survive, let me give you a short tour through part of my shoe wardrobe ideal for those end-of-the-world scenarios.
After all, there is never an excuse for not being properly dressed.

 Now you may immediately think that you need boots.
I have an original pair of Doc Marten ‘punk plaid’ boots. They are lovely if a bit heavy and the material is prone to fraying on the toes. So what you need is a pair of Doc Marten, gun-metal leather limited edition. They are flexible and have a darling row of sequins around the top and a low-key cross in Swarovski crystal on the heel. Tied with satin ribbon they are THE choice for fighting vampires. Team it with a stretch mini and opaque tights and you’ll the best dressed Vampire killer for miles. But sometimes you may want to strut around being the mercenary boss, sending your bounty hunters out to bring back the heads of the wanted. May I offer you the snakeskin leather pull up boot? A lovely – but manageable – four inch heel, knee length and very flexible. You can run in these ladies, and kick some serious butt when you catch the miscreant too.

It’s the 60’s. You’re Emma Peel. You must have these patent leather knee length red boots for your work. And they’re probably tax deductible too..
What? You can’t cope with heels all the time? Well, try these pink sparkly baseball boots. Ideal with your jeans and for those ‘just takin’ out the trash ‘ moments.
If your inner women is more of a jungle princess, try the leopard skin half boots. Small heel yet ideal for a quick kick to the knee cap. Popular with the corporate bitches with the power suit.

 Some of us girls will be getting back to nature in a big way. These Native American suede boots have the requisite tassels and a small chunky heel suitable for walking the Vale of Tears.
Save the cheerleader, save the world. These are the ultimate in sports shoes. A metallic electric blue, small platform and a chunky heel that will look great when you are busy coping with mutants.

Handy throwing stilettos. Both with a hidden platform, they are made by iron fist with apocalypse in mind. The first pair are a charming pink colour with images of sharks printed on them to frighten away lesser mortals. The second pair are named ‘zombie stompers’ – ideal for every situation from cocktail parties to post-apocalyptic zombie stabbing. And in a handy wipe-clean surface!

If you are planning an active end-of-the-world party, try these red leather spotty high heel Mary-Janes. Comfortable yet elegant, these heels are OFFICIAL NASCAR merchandise. Honestly. Not just suitable for drag racing.

But come on. The world has ended and you are obviously the Queen Bee. What you need are some pony-skin leopard skin 5inch heels. Strut around in these and crush the skulls of the fallen to dust under your heels.



Thanks to @MadameNottm for joining us and showing us a small sample of her enviable shoe collection. We award you the Shoe Badge Mish.

Jonesy Badge Winner: Anne Billson

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

The GGSApocalypse Girls are happy to award the Jonesy Merit Badge to Anne Billson for various contributions to cat-kind, not least of which her blog celebrating moggies in movies, “Cats on Film”, but in particular for her retelling of Alien from the point of view of the most important personage on board the Nostromo.

Jones the Cat, of course!

Get Anne’s “My Day by Jones: The Cat’s Eye View of Alien” for 99¢ over at Smashwords or Amazon. Here’s the blurb: Remember Jones, the ginger cat from the 1979 movie Alien? Of course you do. If you ever wondered what the events of the film looked like from his angle, here – at last – is a short story that gives you the cat’s-eye view. And if you never gave it any thought… well, maybe it’s time you did. Because you know what cats are like. 

It’s hilarious to read Jones’ description of life with the “can-openers” and the sudden arrival of a new creature on the ship expressed in decidedly feline terms. The ebook also contains a teaser chapter of Suckers, Billson’s satirical vampire novel. Also be sure to check out the various collections of Billson’s writing on film including reviews and her column from the Guardian. See her blog for details.

Congratulations on your Jonesy, because we know you’d always go back for the cat!

Don’t forget to add your suggestions for those worthy of winning GGSA merit badges and get your sashes at the ready!

UPDATE: Jonesy now featured at Bleeding Cool! Well done, Billson.

Cocktail of the Apocalypse #16 The Four Horsemen

It makes no sense to have a series of apocalypse cocktails without actually having the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Four Horsemen on the Apocalypse
1/2 oz of each of our horsemen
Johnnie Walker, Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniel, Jim Beam,
1/2 oz Jagermeister
1oz pineapple juice
2oz sweet and sour mix

Pour all liqueurs into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake until frosted. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes and add pineapple juice and sweet and sour. Stir, and serve.

From Drinksmixer

Cocktail Cabinet of the Apocalypse #15 Long Sprint

Let’s face it, a long sprint is something we may all need to do when the apocalypse comes and at the end of it a strong drink may be just the thing.

I offer you the Long Sprint by Alberto Bramucci (Italy) from ‘The Cocktail Book’ Gino Marcialis & Franco Zingales.

1/4 Royal Stock brandy
1/4 Martini dry vermouth
1/4 Galliano
1/4 Isolabella manderin liquer
champagne
candied fruit

Prepare in a mixing glass with ice. Pour into a tall glass and fill with Champagne, decorate we candied fruit. See it’s even got fruit in it.

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