Picoreview: Cats: I have seen it twice and have no regrets.

Simultaneously, there are an awful lot of things I’d have done differently. I’d have started by not casting Rebel Wilson, or doing *that* with her song. Especially the latter. A great deal could have been forgiven if they’d stuck with the stage show’s method of creating the cockroaches and mice (which is “have the cats dress up as the cockroaches and mice”, which was funny rather than horrifying and mind-bleeding, and as I use those words, I remind you that I actually quite loved this movie, which perhaps gives you a standard of 1. my trustworthiness about movies in general, and 2. how awful it was).

I also, and this is EXTREMELY KEY, would have put the dancers in unitards of appropriate cat colors, and used motion capture reference dots like they do with, say, Avengers. Apparently what they DID was just putting the performers in green suits and hope the animators could deal with it, which…

Look. I was not one of the people who ran screaming from the trailer. I was DELIGHTED with the trailer. I *genuinely feel* that the costuming and CGI here are the natural progression of the stage show into modern film production special effects. That said, you really have to use those tools correctly, and…they did not, in this case. In fact, given that there were NO REFERENCE DOTS for the animators to work with, it’s astounding they managed as well as they did. Those poor, poor animators.

But honestly, I did love it. It’s a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the stage show. They cut a couple of songs and added one as an Oscar contender and it should definitely not win. For inexplicable reasons they attempted to insert a Macavity subplot, which would be fine if CATS had ANY PLOT WORTH MENTIONING TO BEGIN WITH–

–and here I interrupt myself to say that a lot of people see its plot as “a bunch of death cult cats get together to see who is going to die next,” and I find that really interesting because I honestly never thought it was about death. It’s about the new life, the next life, because cats, of course, have nine. I genuinely never saw it about “choosing somebody to die,” because it’s right there in the text: Old Deuteronomy will choose the cat who will now be reborn and go on to a different Jellicle life. So I’ve been sort of dismayed by all the IT’S ABOUT CATS DYING takes, which I feel miss the point.

Anyway.

Idris Elba, unexpectedly, was quite terrible. My sister, with whom I went to the movie the second time, could not handle Ian MacKellan’s Gus lapping up milk and things, although I honestly thought he was really wonderful in the role. For reasons that were meant to induce tension and instead were sort of embarrassing (and tbf, even having loved it, a lot of it was embarrassing), they made Mistopholees incompetent, which was weird and wrong.

But overall, truly, the first time through I just enjoyed it hugely and the second time I was frequently sitting there just enjoying this unironically and then I’d look over to see my sister watching the film through the fingers pinching her the bridge of her nose, and then the absurdity, the absolute INSANITY of it, would strike me, and I’d start laughing.

I said this to Deirdre, who said, “I ENJOYED it, it’s just so fucking BIZARRE I’m questioning my entire childhood.”

Also Deirdre: this is EXACTLY like the stage show

Her son, who came with us: BUT WHY

Me, in Deirdre’s ear, at the Addressing of Cats, regarding Munkustrap: I love his emotional integrity

Nephew, simultaneously in her other ear: that guy is having paranoid delusions

Deirdre: 😂😂😂

I feel like this nicely sums up the possible spectrum of reactions to CATS. :) :) :)

Also my nephew, after several minutes of baffled ranting (“what IS a jellicle cat? Why did it have no plot? What was GOING ON with those mice?”): I think I want to see that again

So there’s that. :)

On the topic of “What IS a Jellicle cat?!?”, Dad got me a copy of Old Possum’s Book of Cats for Christmas, and I learned something: TS Elliot had written the poems for a 4 year old godnephew who called dogs “poor little dogs” which he pronounced pollicle dogs and cats “dear little cats” — jellicle cats. (Pollicle is much less of a stretch than jellicle, there, but I’m not a 4 year old in 1932 or whatever so what do I know.)

On one hand, this is totally unnecessary information for the show. On the other, IT’S ACTUALLY VERY USEFUL TO KNOW. Because although there’s AN ENTIRE SONG telling you what a Jellicle cat is, that song, and others in the play, are also full of contradictions. Like, I’ve spent my whole life unclear on why there are songs about Jenny Any Dots, whose coat is of the tabby kind with tiger stripes and leopard spots

when Jellicle cats are black and white

and Busterphor Jones, who’s not skin and bones

when Jellicle cats are rather small

on the other hand, Jellicle cats are roly poly but

Macavity’s a ginger cat, who’s very tall and thin

and so on and so forth full of inconsistencies. On a fundamental level I always apparently wanted ‘Jellicle’ to somehow correlate to a breed, and having learned this one stupid little bit of trivia about it being a small child’s word, I NO LONGER HAVE THAT NEED.

I don’t know if I’ve still got my CATS program from the Broadway show in 1987, but I don’t remember it *having* that bit of trivia, which I feel would have made my life just a little bit less uneasy for all these years.

Anyway, the truth is CATS works better as a stage show. The immediacy of the cats being on the stage, of the audience being there literally surrounded by the story, allows what my sister not incorrectly referred to as the FUCKING BIZARRENESS of it to slide away a little. I really don’t think it’s the makeup or the CGI. I think it’s the intimacy of theatre vs the remove and physical size of the movies.

I am, however, still *really hoping* that there’s gonna be a sing-along at my local theatre before it leaves… :)

I have a small, and I hope consistently growing, collection of short stories set in a post-climate-change future that I’ve taken to calling The Rising. “Keys”, written years ago for an anthology, belongs in that world, as does last year’s “Siryn” (Amazon || Apple || Barnes & Noble (Nook) || Kobo). So far they’re all retold fairy tales; “Keys” is a take on Bluebeard that I’m rather fond of. :)

“Keys”
a fairy tale of The Rising
Not so very long ago came the Rising, and the death of the world as it was. There are old tales to be remade in this new future, and echoes of the past that resonate through time.

Rich men survive in every era, and the wealthy baron they call Bluebeard is no different. He offers wealth and comfort and education to the youngest sister of a large family…but what price the keys to a kingdom?

Available at:
Amazon || Apple || Barnes & Noble || Kobo

Picoreview: Spinning Out: ugh.

Ted suggested the new Netflix Spinning Out, which looked like a reverse Cutting Edge, with a young woman skater coming back after an injury to join a playboy pairs skater.

Readers, it is *not* like Cutting Edge. It’s a drama with no humor to alleviate the bitchy unhappy characters.

I watched all the way through the first episode for the express purpose of trying to make Netflix not suggest I finish watching it. It didn’t work, which is too bad, because if I’d known it wouldn’t, I could’ve stopped watching 10 minutes in. Poor Ted was in the other side of the room, periodically offering up apologies just from LISTENING to it.

It may be well acted. I couldn’t really tell, because I disliked every single character so much that I couldn’t tell if it was the actors or the writing. I suspect it’s the writing. I think the lead woman could be quite charming & the playboy pairs skater clearly can be. But ugh.

OH! I just found out the lead woman was The Girl in the Maze Runner movie, so yeah, she can be appealing (although I still want to know how a group of boys apparently raised with no women or female figures AT ALL even knew the word for ‘girl’, but I digress). And wait, no, there was a single character I liked. The playboy pairs skater’s coach was good. But I didn’t like anybody else.

And I don’t think they should have cast a 27 year old who looks like she’s about 27, as the daughter of 41 year old January Jones, because even though the story acknowledges that Mom got pregnant young, I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean AT AGE FOURTEEN. God, I hope not, anyway.

Anyway, IDK. Maybe if you don’t turn it on expecting something Cutting-Edgeish it’s fine, but it was clear within the first few minutes (after the interminably long credits, I mean) that it wasn’t, and I felt I was able to adjust my expectations accordingly, but I still found it *miserable*, rather than dramatically intriguing and compelling to watch.

OMG MES AMIS, LOOK! LOOOOOOOOOK! Today is the official release day for the first book in my new cozy mystery series!

In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, murder occurs at the feet of sweet Molly Malone . . .

Ferrying tourists around Dublin for the Leprechaun Limo Service makes quite a change after years in the military. Still, Megan Malone is enjoying her life in Ireland. She likes the scenery, the easy pace, the quirky, quick-witted locals. Everything—except having one of her clients drop dead at the statue of fabled fishmonger, Molly Malone.

Most restaurant critics notch up their share of enemies. Elizabeth Darr, however, was a well-loved international star. She and her husband, Simon, had just had dinner when Elizabeth collapsed, and spoiled seafood is the first suspect. The restaurant’s owner, worried her business is doomed, begs Megan to look into it. Between her irate boss and a handsome Garda who’s both amused and annoyed by her persistence, Megan has her hands full even before she’s cajoled into taking care of two adorable Jack Russell puppies (which she is almost definitely not keeping). But if cockles and mussels aren’t to blame, can Megan find the real culprit . . .before another fishy death occurs?

DEAD IN DUBLIN is available now!
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || GooglePlay || Kobo

The general idea for the Dublin Driver mysteries–a limo driver who drives herself in and out of murder mysteries–was my husband’s (as, for that matter, was the idea for the Walker Papers. Someone once asked me what I’d be doing if I hadn’t married Ted. Without missing a beat and without a hint of irony, I said, “Writing different books.” ANYWAY. :)). So a while back when an editor asked me if I had any ideas for cozy mysteries, I was like “LET ME STEP RIGHT UP WITH SOME THOUGHTS!”

Writing Megan Malone in this series (I’ve written 3 of them already, actually) has been great fun. She’s an American in Ireland, so I’ve gotten to use my personal observations and loads of funny stories about being an incomer to Ireland as part of the backbone for these books. I’ve tromped around parts of Dublin I hadn’t ever seen before, getting details right. I’ve harangued my local friends to make sure I’m using Irish slang correctly (Ruth, Susan and Sarah, particularly, have been SO PATIENT with me). I’ve written my favourite cafe into the series. It’s been great. :)

And also very excitingly, not only is this my first traditionally published book in several years, BUT ALSO if you’ll have a look at the by-line, you’ll see this is a book by CATIE MURPHY. I genuinely never thought I’d see my day-to-day name on the cover of a book–I write under CE because I never thought ‘Catie’ looked grown-up enough for a book cover, and I didn’t want people to call me by my full name (unless they were Ron Perlman. I have a whole fantasy built around Ron Perlman calling me by my full name. But that’s beside the point…), so I used my initials.

But when we were talking about what name the Dublin Driver mysteries should be published under, both my editor and I thought a break from CE Murphy was wise, because CE is so associated with SFF. And, as it happened, because cozies are, well, *cozy*, ie, familiar and comfortable, we thought that ‘Catie’, which is a quite informal name, actually worked really well for the author name for this series. And I’m RIDICULOUSLY CHUFFED about it!

So I’m overall VERY EXCITED about this new series, and I hope you all will enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it! ♥!

DEAD IN DUBLIN is available at the following e-retailers & at bookstores near you!
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || GooglePlay || Kobo

I promised that I’d post pictures of Dublin to go along with the Dublin Driver books, so here are a few!

DEAD IN DUBLIN

In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, murder occurs at the feet of sweet Molly Malone . . .

Ferrying tourists around Dublin for the Leprechaun Limo Service makes quite a change after years in the military. Still, Megan Malone is enjoying her life in Ireland. She likes the scenery, the easy pace, the quirky, quick-witted locals. Everything—except having one of her clients drop dead at the statue of fabled fishmonger, Molly Malone.

Most restaurant critics notch up their share of enemies. Elizabeth Darr, however, was a well-loved international star. She and her husband, Simon, had just had dinner when Elizabeth collapsed, and spoiled seafood is the first suspect. The restaurant’s owner, worried her business is doomed, begs Megan to look into it. Between her irate boss and a handsome Garda who’s both amused and annoyed by her persistence, Megan has her hands full even before she’s cajoled into taking care of two adorable Jack Russell puppies (which she is almost definitely not keeping). But if cockles and mussels aren’t to blame, can Megan find the real culprit . . .before another fishy death occurs?

DEAD IN DUBLIN is available aow!
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || GooglePlay || Kobo

We open–of course–with Molly Malone, site of the fatal first scene of DEAD IN DUBLIN!

Behind Molly is St Andrew’s Church, which has been repurposed as a restaurant in DEAD IN DUBLIN. :)

Moving south from Molly are the O’Connell and Hapenny Bridges on the River Liffey…

…and the General Post Office, shown here with all its holiday glory! :)

A glimpse at the interior of Accents, Megan’s (and my!) favourite cafe in Dublin!

And the Portobello Hotel, which, although not mentioned by name, is on Megan’s daily driving route on the way out of Rathmines into Dublin city centre… :)