Cheeseburger Gothic

Raven On Recap: GoT S8E1 "Winterfell"

Posted April 17 into Raven On by girlclumsy

Why hello, sexy Throners. You look so lovely and nubile in the candlelight. Let’s all disrobe and enjoy some cosy naked time here on this surprisingly plush bed.

What’s that, you say? You just want to talk about Game of Thrones? About how it’s back, after 595 days of waiting in agony? About how all our favourites reconvened, reunited, reacted to or rode each other? Are you seriously going to chitter chatter over me, trading minute details and emotional responses while I attempt to have my wicked way with all of you?

Well, a woman simply can’t CONCENTRATE on getting her beginning away (it’s hardly an end, thank you very much) with all of this TALK. Honestly, you’d think the WORLD was about to END listening to your gory obsession with dragons and fire and missing eyelids and things that are in no way compliments about my sexual prowess. What do you think this is, a true crime podcast?

Bah. I see there’s no use trying to convince you. Sexy times will have to wait. For now, there is only time to RECAP GAME OF THRONES.

Here we are, back together after so long, dear readers!

Much has happened. They took pictures of a black hole that wasn’t the gaping heart of Australian politics. Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire in Paris while I was writing late into the night, a heart-breaking sight that made me think immediately of Cersei blowing the Sept of Baelor, because that’s what happens when your brain moors itself near-completely in Westeros.

Much has stayed the same. I still have three foster kittens, maintaining my “Mother of Kittens” title. I am still unchallenged as “The World’s Foremost Game of Thrones Recappespondent”, mostly because I made that term up and am still the only person on Planet Earth to use it.

I’m sure we are all a little older, a little wearier, a little ground down by the relentless task of Existing In This World.

Thank heavens then, that Existence has been improved for six final, glorious weeks with the return of The Greatest Television Show That Ever Was Or Will Be.

Let’s just ignore the Impending End, and focus on the Now. For the Night is Dark and Full of Terrors, Winter is Coming, What is Dead May Never Die and in the end we will all be cleansed by Fire and Blood.

The Raven On recaps have returned. I wish us all good fortune in the words to come.

S8E1: Winterfell

As usual for a Game of Thrones season-opener, this episode was very much about blowing cobwebs off dusty chess pieces, moving them into position, and setting up what’s to come.

It was always going to be dominated by the arrival of Daenarys Targaryen, Jon Snow (sigh) and a mighty army descending on Winterfell. But the throughline for me this episode was the nature of allegiances. How are they formed? What bends them, what breaks them? Is trust a necessary ingredient, or can you ally in bad faith? How does the blowing away of assumed knowledge affect your allegiances?

And what kind of deal do you make with a dragon that’s staring you down as you play tonsil hockey with his Mum?

Let’s begin then, as the episode does, with the march into Winterfell of Dany, her massed army of Unsullied, Dothraki and dragons, and her *seemingly* equal partner, Jon Snow.

Our first glimpses of the huge host are from the eyes of young Lord Ned Umber, which interestingly enough will feature again later in this episode (gulp). As predicted, their entry mirrors the very first episode, when King Robert Baratheon’s travelling party marched into Winterfell - they even played a twist on King Robert’s theme music.

It was no surprise to see the point of view pass from Ned Umber to Arya Stark, not waiting in the castle with the official party, but taking in the sights from the parade route through Winter Town, not dissimilar to how she watched that first arrival years ago.

Daenarys and Jon ride side by side in the middle of the Unsullied, all regal and serious, but with the odd look of delight from Dany. This is her first official reception as Queen on the Westerosi mainland; it’s understandable she’s looking forward to it.

I was actually quite cross with Jon when he didn’t even notice Arya, but then, why would he have cause to look? He’s Mr Serious Lord Ally to Hot Lady Dragon Queen now, and he’s expecting everyone to be up at Winterfell.

Arya has further Emotions when she spies the Hound plodding along, dour as ever, and Gendry, looking quite rugged atop his mount (ooer). Can we expect a “Genrya” coupling this season? Does Arya even have space in her life for romance, given she seems to derive the most personal satisfaction from beautifully executed executions?

There’s a rather uncomfortable moment when Grey Worm and Missandei, along with a bunch of Dothraki, pass by town folk throwing them narrow-eyed suspicious looks. Their skin is dark, not something you normally see ‘round these here parts, pardners. Come on, Winter Town, please don’t call the cops on them for no reason. There will be excessive force deployed, but it ain’t gonna be by the white people.

The first lines of the season are fittingly given to Tyrion and Varys, riding in a carriage, and fittingly for me, they’re jokes about testicles. This show just KNOWS me. I feel SEEN.

Drogon and Rhaegal arrive in a blaze of sound and fury, soaring over the snow in a display of wonder not seen since the end of the Official Winterfell Summer Box Kite Competition.

Everyone’s a bit scared, except Arya, whose eyes light up, and Sansa on the castle battlements, who’s more “OK, cool, this is a thing, I can deal.”

The main party roll into the castle, and we get our first moment of real emotion from Jon, when he spies Bran, all calm, all knowing, staring at him from his wheelchair.

We’ll get more into Bran’s preternatural gazing, but for now, let’s follow Jon as he bolts down from his horse, runs to his little bro, and smooches him on the head. “You’re a man!” he exclaims. “Almost,” deadpans Bran (deadbran?)

"I'm still All Bran. Which is incidentally why I look this creepy all the time."

Now you may have noticed I have yet to refer to Jon Snow with any of his usual epithets - My Beloved, Lord of #Junkmound, Possessor of #Abs, King in My Pants.

Because, kittens, I’ve got to admit - I feel a little distant from him. Disconnected.’s possible that...I might be losing him.

That this whole *thing* with Daenarys might not have simply been a one-off abhorrent aberration, but an ongoing - *gulp* - genuine affection.

I’m sure everything will be sorted out once the truth of what Donald Trump might describe as Jon’s “oranges” is revealed. But I’m just being a bit tender with my heart right now. Just bubble wrapping it for a moment, to perhaps prevent the damage of a full smash later this season.

Sansa gave Jon an efficient but affectionate hug; she was then introduced to her new Queen, Daenarys. Sansa was polite, gracious even, but we all saw the guardedness in her countenance when it came to the Mother of Dragons.

Bran, though, ain’t got no time for this polite bullshit. He abruptly informs Dany that the Night King has turned Viserion, an excellent way to quickly impart that piece of knowledge in less than three seconds of screentime.

The tension deepens when the northern lords and ladies gather in the Great Hall to discuss preparations for the Oncoming Storm. Little Lord Umber pops up again, requesting more wagons to properly evacuate his home, The Last Hearth. And then, YEAAAAAHHHHHHH, it’s our one true Queen, Lyanna Mormont, asking some Very. Pointed. Questions about what in seven hells Jon Snow has been doing.

Lyanna, remember, was the one who first hailed Jon Snow as King in the North at the end of Season Six, and so it’s only right that she be the Enola Gay dropping nuclear truth bombs onto the Hiroshima that is the North.

Yeah, that was possibly not the ideal metaphor.

Anyways, Jon does have the stones (and the pillar, but I’m trying not to think about that, remember) to defend his actions. “We needed allies, I chose the North over my crown” is his base line argument.

He’s noble and such, and he is doing the right thing as he sees it, but he is being a bit selfish to think that Sansa, Lyanna and others wouldn’t interrogate his choices. He was ACCLAIMED as a king, remember, he didn’t take the crown and inform everyone it was now Jon’s World, and You’re Just Living In It. That was an allegiance forged by the people who voted for their King in the North, with or without a democracy sausage. Jon accepted it reluctantly, sure, but it was not necessarily 100 per cent his to give up.

Dany is all cock of the walk - as far as she’s concerned, she’s Queen, she’s the bizzzzzznezzzzz, Jon’s only doing what’s right and proper. She even gives Sansa some SERIOUS SIDE-EYE when the Lady of Winterfell questions how they’re going to feed not only the greatest army ever assembled, but two dragons.

There’s something of an elemental reversal here as it’s Sansa who fires up with the question “What do dragons even EAT?” and Dany who brings the CHILL with “Whatever they want.”

It’s once again left to Tyrion to be the voice of reason. He’s insistent that they must all fight together - even the Lannisters. Yes, Tyrion reveals to the Northmen that his hated family’s forces are heading north to join the fight. They are NOT. HAPPY. LAN.

But Tyrion is convinced. He even bails up Sansa a bit later to explain just why he thinks Darth Cersei is going to come through for the Rebellion, even if he has absolutely no proof she has withdrawn the fully operational Death Star option from the table.

It’s a great reunion between the one-time husband and wife (or ARE they still married? The internet is ablaze with deep dives), particularly Sansa’s rejoinder that the last time they saw each other, Joffrey’s wedding/murder, “had its moments”.

Tyrion thinks Cersei has something to live for - aka, bubba onboard - but Sansa is blown away he could be convinced. “I once thought you were the smartest man alive,” she quips, then stalking off, shaking her head in disbelief at her younger self.

I love this because Sansa and Tyrion are both acutely aware of Cersei’s treachery, but they come at it from different angles. Sansa was but a girl when she was brought under Cersei’s control after her Dad’s head was nipped off. She grew up being intimately acquainted with Cersei’s cruel and inhuman nature. She also spent a fair bit of time with Chief Creep Littlefinger, and not to mention the pure evil of Ramsay Bolton. The girl has a First Class Honours in the University of Terrible Awful People, How to Spot Them and Why To Treat Everything They Say as a Lie at Best and a Deliberate, Manipulative and Likely Painful Trap at Worst.

Tyrion, though, was a grown man when the events of season one rammed into his cosy world of tits and wine. Despite having the surface knowledge that his sister and father hated him, then achieving a more in-depth understanding after numerous attempts to bump him off, somehow he has a vague sense of being bulletproof when it comes to Cersei’s murderous intent.

He once said Cersei’s only two redeeming features were her cheekbones and the love she bore her children. He is banking on that maternal instinct to come good in the great war against the army of the dead. That’s his weakness.

Sansa knows better. Sansa knows Cersei would sooner give up day drinking than help not one, but now two brothers who are putting a literal life or death fight before her. No wonder she’s disappointed in Tyrion’s supposed intelligence.

"I was so out of that guy's league."

Ser Davos Seaworth (kill him and answer to me, HBO) is not from the North himself, but he knows a thing or two about forging and managing useful alliances. Let’s not forget he had to tone down his initial outright hostility to Red Priestess/80s Chanteuse Kate Bush to a general wariness, in order to maintain his friendship with his former King, Stannis Baratheon. Their wobbly detente was destroyed when Melisandre burned Shireen at the stake, but you know, fair cop. That’s not a frenemy you need anymore.

He’s since been a key adviser to Jon Snow, both as he negotiated with the free folk to join forces, and subsequently as a sort of quasi-hand-of-the-king-in-the-north, helping him with Dragonstone negotiations with Dany.

The Onion Knight knows enough to understand Northerners distrust foreigners, outsiders. And how best to make an alliance? Remove the “D” from “dalliance” it seems.

“A proposal is my proposal,” he says, checking out Jon and Dany’s annoyingly convincing body language as they inspect the campsite outside the castle walls below.

Oh Davos, you old romantic. “Old” being the operative word; Tyrion takes offence at being lumped in with Davos and Varys as the “elder statesmen” of the Targaryen/Stark political machine.

Dany, meanwhile, is concerned that her attempts to get on Sansa’s good side early with all those lovely compliments about her beauty have not worked as she hoped.

She doesn’t think my girl Sansa likes her, but Jon, ever the peacemaker, says it’s just because Sansa doesn’t know Dany yet. Dany’s like, sure, but even if she doesn’t like me, she must respect mah authoritah (is South Park still a reasonable relevant cultural touchstone?)

The pair is interrupted by Dothraki horsemen bringing news that the dragons have only eaten 18 goats and 11 sheep, indicating they may be starving themselves in protest at being flown up to the cold, damp wasteland of the north. They are reptiles after all (one assumes).

It’s like the time I started a hunger strike to protest not being allowed to go to Schoolies at the end of Year 12. Although that lasted approximately 23 minutes before I remembered I didn’t drink, I really didn’t care about the beach, and that no teenage rite-of-passage could ever be as good as food.


Let’s talk about the dragon-riding.

I must admit to having mixed feelings about this sequence. On the one hand, of course I loved it, because it was joyous and funny and it gave the opportunity for Jon Snow to practice dragon-riding before an emergency situation where it might be needed. Dany’s quips to Jon about holding onto “whatever you can” and that should Rhaegal not want him to ride, then “I will miss your company, Jon Snow” were pretty ace.

On the other hand, I was surprised they would choose to burn the dragons’ limited calorific intake on a joy flight; and I really wasn’t expecting the first time Jon Snow rode a dragon that it would be an almost shot-for-shot remake of Neville Longbottom’s first attempt to ride a broomstick in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

As a quick sidebar, given JK Rowling seems to love throwing out new revelations about the Potterverse from 10 years post-Deathly Hallows, has she clarified at all about how painful broomstick riding must be? Think about it - you have a wooden stick clamped between your crotch for potentially hours at a time. Are those wizard robes padded like weekend biking dudes’ lycra pants? Or do they cast anti-chafing spells before they take-off? You never saw that explained in Harry Potter. Nobody ever complained of wang splinters. If anything, side-saddle should be the default riding position in the wizarding world, but no, it was always proper cowboy-style. I’m surprised it was just the Slytherins who were irritable.

Back to Jon. I did somewhat anticipate his first dragon ride would be at a Rather More Dramatic Moment; having to hop on to help out in a battle or something like that. I guess points again to HBO for flipping my expectations on that, making it about the sheer joy of flying rather than the grave necessity of mounting a living scaly missile to deliver maximum payload.

Dany’s never let anybody else attempt a dragon-ride; never set up a little $2 a ride charity stall like they do with Shetland ponies at school fairs. Clearly she trusts Jon enough.

But do the dragons trust him? When they get off to look at waterfalls and… well, get off, Jon has to be reassured that Drogon in particular is OK with his Mommy pashing on with a new boyfriend.

Drogon and I share a similar point of view.

Sigh. Again, the distance, the bubble wrap. I’m just trying to work through the Jon/Dany Boning Reality as best I can, lest I descend into madness, 19th century gothic fiction anti-heroine style.

That’s probably a wise move, because back at Rancho Winterfell, it’s Sansa who explains more clearly to Jon the danger he’s placed them in by resigning his kingship, and asks the key question - did you bend the knee for duty… or love?

Let’s head to King’s Landing, where Qyburn has terrible news for Darth Cersei - the White Walkers have breached The Wall. “Good,” the Queen replies, with one of her trademark smug grins. She’s watching as Euron MacGregor’s Iron Fleet sails back into town, complete with 20,000-odd Golden Company mercenary soldiers, and it’s giving her life.

Cersei sees little threat from an army of the dead: if anything, she considers them more of an ally-from-afar, a convenient way to dispatch her enemies to the North while not risking her own troops.

In the Throne Room, we’re introduced to Golden Company Captain Harry Strickland, a striking-looking blond chap with a throaty Teutonic accent I find highly jarring for a character named “Harry Strickland”. To my mind, “Harry Strickland” should be some sort of Cockney geezer, referring to everyone as “Guv’Nor” and saying things like “Cor blimey, Runner Bean, I felt a bit Moby Dick coming over on the old Nanny Goat” before breaking into a musical number from My Fair Lady.

Someone with the poise, and dare I say it, ethnic features deemed very popular in both Nazi Germany and several James Bond films, should have a name like Reinhold Von Wolfgang Dieter-Meyer Hammerschlag. Not “Harry Strickland”, for Friar Tuck’s sake.

Cersei is Not Impressed by the fact that Harry Me ‘Ol Steiner didn’t make like Hannibal and bring his Battle Elephants from Essos (incidentally my new urban hip hop band name) because they would be too long in quarantine or something.

Harry’s dismissed, but Euron Greyjoy’s keen to sniff out a reward for his work bringing the ships and soldiers to Cersei.

Initially, Cersei’s not taking any of his crap, telling him only that he’s a loyal servant to the Iron Throne and they would marry when the war was over. She even delivers the cold line “You want a whore, buy one. You want a Queen…EARN HER.”

And that, my friends, has inspired…THE FIRST RAVEN ON SONG PARODY OF SEASON EIGHT!

I didn’t know if these song ideas would return to me in 2019, but clearly the muse is hovering about, at least this week. Cersei’s declaration put me immediately in mind of the ultimate Queen of Pop, Madonna, and on the 30th anniversary of its release, I am proud to present:


Come on girls
Do you believe in love?
‘Cause I do for political reasons
And they go something like this

Just try out second best baby
Put Euron to the test
You know, you know, you've got to
Let him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know his word is real

You don't need elephants
But you’re pissed they didn’t show
Golden Co. they came very fast
You were really aghast, oh, oh
Your request didn’t go to plan
There’s no way you’ll get a pachyderm
And you’re already queen on a throne
But this jerk wants you to take his sperm
(So much gross sperm)

Just try out second best, baby
Even if it’s in jest
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Let Euron loose his large eel
And maybe then you know the bitch will heel

Your twin brother has deserted your keep
And there’s nary a peep from your kids
Prophecies left you sad and alone, so
You might as well bone crazy squids
You deserve to keep the crown
But what if people see your belly has grown?
Euron wants you right up the duff
Might as well have him think the babe’s his own
(The seed he’s sown)

Just bounce with second best, baby
Count yourself mighty blessed
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Let him undress his winged keel
And baby, you won’t be the one to kneel

Express Eur-self
You’ve got to make him
Impress himself
Hey hey hey hey
So if you want a new toy, make love to Greyjoy
He may be a snot but he’s more ready than knot

He’s got his niece tied up below deck
But Theon’s proved he’s still her comrade
Now the yoke has gone from around Yara’s neck
He’ll need all your mercies
The sleaze

Just settle second best, baby
Tell him he beats the rest
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him forget Jaime’s zeal
And baby just talk up his sex appeal

Express Eur-self
So you can de-stress yourself
Hey, hey, hey, hey
So if you are feeling torn, just bed a nut Ironborn
Finesse what he's got, oh baby ready or not

But onboard ship, Euron MacGregor had been very insistent to his captive, niece Yara Greyjoy, that he was going to, ahem, get to know Cersei better, and starts playing the manipulative, “hey you owe me” crap that shows he’s clearly learned nothing from the #MeToo movement.

Cersei makes to leave, but then she changes her mind. She flips her head back suddenly to Euron, giving him some sort of nod of approval, and he snakes past The Zombie Mountain (oh hi there, you appalling monstrosity), and follows her.

Next time we see them, Euron’s buckling his grotty, fishy pants back up and patting himself on the back for a job well done. Cersei, clad in a soft lavender nightgown which is the first colour we’ve seen her in since she blew up the Sept of Baelor, is already trying to drink away the memory.

Euron wants to know if he’s better than Robert Baratheon (remember him?), and Jaime Lannister. Cersei says he enjoys risking his head - but that she likes his arrogance.

Was that it then? Was that why she let him get his Casterly Rocks off? Surely she finds him revolting? Or is his kind of self-confidence really a turn-on for a Queen who gets off on power? After all, she would often bed Jaime after making life hell for somebody else - maybe she really does have a bitch itch to scratch and she may as well test out Euron’s clammy fingers.

The alternative of course is that she quickly worked out a way of potentially covering up her Jaime Lannister legacy pregnancy with a quick tumble or two with Euron. Given he touched her stomach and said he was going to put a prince in her belly, it’s a live theory - but did Cersei think of it before he did? Is that what prompted her to change her mind?

Meanwhile Bronn’s attempts to drown his sorrows in sex are not going well. His three sexy girls are more interested in gossiping about the latest victims of war than satisfying the dictums of whore.

“Can we stop talking about the f***ing dragons?” he pleads, before Qyburn interrupts from the end of the bed. I assume this was a brothel; the settings looked similar to Littlefinger’s old whorehouse (RIP, but don’t, you creep), but emptier, and more bundled up, like there’s not a lot of disposal income around for ladies of the night. It’s sad when impending continental doom hurts the economy, isn’t it, climate change deniers?

Anyway, there’s clearly no privacy policy in place because Qyburn just appears like a coldsore after using a tester lipstick. There’s no knock, just a “Sir Bronn of the Blackwater?” Ugh, why aren’t these people more pathologically awkward about sex like normal human beings?

What, you don't all have sex like this?

Qyburn has an offer to Bronn, direct from Cersei. She wants him to go after both Jaime and Tyrion, and dispatch them with the crossbow that was made for Joffrey, and later used by Tyrion to kill Tywin.

“That f***ing family,” Bronn says, echoing the sentiments of EVERY VIEWER EVER.

Qyburn waggles his eyebrows as he tells Bronn that if Darth Cersei raised him up to be her Hand, despite being expelled from the Citadel, imagine what she would do for the man who took out her treasonous brothers?

Now as Ned Flanders might say, this is a dilly of a pickle. Could Bronn actually go through with the assassination of the Lannister Bros? He’s a sellsword, through and through - but he’s been close to both of them, put his life on the line to save them. Does that mean anything to him?

I recall, in the deep dark of foggy memory, a famous declaration Tyrion made to Bronn on their first bromantic walk together through The Vale: “If the day ever comes when you’re tempted to sell me out, remember - whatever their price, I’ll beat it.”

I hope Bronn hasn’t forgotten that, and will turn up at Winterfell in time seeking only a bigger wagon full of gold to join the real fight. And don’t think I didn’t notice that Bronn-belly he was sporting as he put his shirt back on. Could Bronn have lost his edge after losing Jaime to the North? Maybe he's just looking for a good excuse to get out of the capital.

Out on the Blackwater, the quiet sleep of Euron’s ship is disturbed by the pffffthhht of arrows, fired at the eyes of Ironborn guarding his prisoner Yara.

Her main guard falls through the door with an axe in his forehead, before Theon Motherf***ing Greyjoy walks in with his baby blond curls all grown back.

He frees Yara, and she does the only thing appropriate for an Ironborn Queen to do - she gives him a Pyke Kiss right in his stupid cowardly noggin and he hits the deck. But then, heartwarmingly, she offers him her hand and pulls him back up. T’was the most beautiful metaphor for their relationship.

Later, we see the pair at sea, heading for the Iron Islands. Yara reasons that with Euron and his fleet in King’s Landing, he cannot hold his home territory - and Queen Daenarys may need somewhere to fall back to should those pesky Death Zombie Nightmare Shufflers overrun her forces.

Theon half-heartedly says he will follow where she leads, but Yara’s picking up what Theon’s putting down. He wants to go to Winterfell to fight the White Walkers alongside Jon Snow, who gave him such sweet absolution at the end of Season Seven. “You can be a Greyjoy and a Stark” - and having rescued his sister, this move would fulfil both. Theon is a fairly certain candidate for fairly certain death, and it makes a poetic point that he die in the service of Winterfell, the castle he grew up in, but then sacked and burned. Despite his physical injuries, he’s got the figurative balls to honour all of his allegiances.

"Let's mark this moment with a trademark warm Greyjoy embrace."

Can we get a big F***ING HUZZAH for the return of Tormund Giantsbane? He and Beric Dondarrion and a few other escapees from Viserion’s attack on Eastwatch-by-the-Sea turn up at The Last Hearth, which is looking more like the “before” shot in a home renovation TV show than a typical stronghold. There’s snow everywhere, the furniture’s been ruined, and unless they can do something quick with plywood and Dulux Wash & Wear Semi-Gloss the damn thing is never going to sell at auction.

The posse hear noises coming from below the great hall, and head down to scope it out. It’s all very tense until the two separate groups jump out at each other like the world’s worst-organised surprise party. The other group is, of course, a group of Night’s Watchmen led by Acting Lord Commander Dolorous Ed.

Beric's flaming sword is the handy medieval fantasy world version of the torch app.

Again, another sight for sore eyes - this show just has a way of making you adore minor characters enough you’d be quite happy to see them have a spin off procedural drama called “Tormund & Tollett: The Cold Hands of Justice”.

Tormund asks if they’ve found anything, and Ed gives them an ominous look and leads them down to a chamber. Skewered on the wall is poor young Ned Umber, the centre of a spiral of leg and arm segments stretched out across the stone.

As our favourite bearded warriors discuss the meaning of this message, we see the Umber boy’s eyes flick open behind Tormund’s head. The eyes, so incredulous at the sight of Jon and Dany just days earlier, are now terrifyingly dead blue. He mouth opens into brain-shattering scream, and he lunges for Giantsbane.

Thankfully Beric Dondarrion has that very handy flaming sword, which he seems to be able to control as easily as the torch app on your smartphone. Very convenient for finding your way; and a hundred times more effective at snuffing out the screaming undead.

Beric stabs the creature, and the flames spread outwards around the limbs, making a bloody, fiery feature wall.

"I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

The spiral of body parts is a recurring image through the season: from the very first pre-credit sequence of dead Wildling bodies; to the Night’s Watch slaughtered at the Fist of the First Men; to the rocks around the Tree of Knowledge; to the symbols carved into the caves of Dragonstone. Is it a symbol that all the evil of the White Walkers stems back to one central point, aka The Night King? Could it be that it’s a signpost to a way to undo the curse, to reverse the magic of the world? Or are the White Walkers just a little bit f***ing extra?

Whatever the meaning, they have to get to Winterfell to warn everyone the Army of the Dead is on the march. Thankfully Dolorous Ed and the Night’s Watch brigade brought horses with them; but as Tormund says, they’ll have to last if they can beat the Night King & Co there. Gods speed, my glorious ginger bastard. You, Beric and Ed may just be my secret favourite alliance of all.

Let’s head back to Winterfell for the show’s final one-two revelatory punches.

We start with Sam Tarly going from a blushing servant of Ser Jorah “No More Greyscale” Mormont and asking Dany for a pardon for nicking off with some Citadel books and his father’s Valyrian steel sword, to getting quite startlingly upset at the revelation that Randall and his brother Dickon were flambéd for insolence after the Loot Train Battle.

To control his feelings, he steps out for a breath of oh-so-fresh air, to find Bran waiting patiently in the courtyard, apparently for “an old friend”. Bran then hassles Sam to tell Jon about his true parentage, because it’s best coming from his bestie.

I’m a little circumspect about Sam’s anger here about his family; his Dad treated him woefully, and while he loved his brother, he surely would have understood the rules of war. But it works well for what happens next.

Jon is lighting candles for dead Starks in the crypts when Sam stumbles in. I had forgotten that Sam hadn’t been in the initial reunion greeting party; it makes sense now, he was avoiding Jon lest he inadvertently yells “SHE’S YOUR AUNTIE!” in front of everyone.

It’s Sam who really hits home the theme of allegiances here. He probes Jon about his decision to give up the crown, and how he’s had to make decisions about whom to put to death and whom to spare. Jon says he’s no longer king; Sam says he always bloody has been.

And then, the revelation: Your Mum was Lyanna Stark. Your Dad was Rhaegar Targaryen. You are Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of His Name, ALL OF IT. Jon stumbles back, his face more shocked by this news than by anything the Night King has ever thrown at him.

"Actually, I'm not sure I CAN handle the truth."

Jon cannot believe the Right Honourable Ned Stark could have lied to him his whole life; Sam insists it was to protect him.

Then the key question of alliance.

“You’ve given up your crown for her...would she do the same for you?” Sam asks, righteously, about Danaerys.

Jon has no answer. The rest of the planet does though - OH HELL NO.

As much as Jon has clung to his bastard identity, she has clung to her Queenhood. Jon has never wanted crowns; Dany has. She is similar to someone in this regard… who would that be… oh yes. Cersei.

Man, I wish I could take credit for this meme, but this is all Reddit wizardry.

This is going to make for some interesting discussions next week.

Finally, in a beautifully paced piece of comic comeuppance, Jaime Lannister arrives at Winterfell, shaking snow out of his less-and-less blond hair after a long ride north. He’s fulfilling his promise to fight for the living; but had not paid much thought to whether ghosts from his past might show up.

And then there he is, Bran Stark, stoic, calm, and in full precision laser-beam creep mode. Hello, old friend.

Jaime’s face at this moment can now forever replace the phrase “Ohhhh…. Shiiiiit” in the dictionary.

Last time he saw Bran was a split second before he shoved him out of a tower window where he’d caught Jaime and Cersei in flagrante incesto.

I love that Bran has been carrying this secret around for who knows how long since he got his spooky powers. This is his personal reckoning, he doesn’t need anyone else to take it fom him.

Jaime will face trial of course; but weirdly enough I think Bran will emerge as his best hope for salvation. Bran’s accepted his lot; if Jaime HADN’T have pushed him out of that window, he never would have become the Three-Eyed Raven, and have access to the entire world’s browser history. Worth it? We’ll find out.

And look, I’ve got to say I’m weirdly on the “Save Jaime” train. I need to see he and Brienne have a heart to heart. And given Tormund will no doubt return to Winterfell next week, there are some delicious allegiances just waiting to be made or broken.

Yay! Best Moments

Arya’s reunions with Jon, The Hound and Gendry were my favourite parts of this episode. How glorious was she, stalking Jon Snow into the Godswood, sneaking up behind him, having a brief “how did you survive?”-off, then jumping into his arms EXACTLY the way she did the last time she saw him, as they were both about to leave Winterfell in season one?

"And I've... had... the time of my life."

This was an important moment too, for we saw Jon expressing his frustration with Sansa, and how he wished Arya could have helped him with that. Arya tartly replies Sansa is the smartest person she’s ever met - and let’s not forget that girl has a list that includes Tywin Lannister, Jaqen H’ghar and Hot Pie. She reminds him that Sansa is only acting to protect the Stark family - and Jon should remember that’s his family too. It’s her own message to him to take his newfound alliance to Queen Daenarys carefully - that he’s a Stark first.

Arya’s surprising of Gendry and the Hound in the forge was almost as satisfying - when the Hound sauntered up to stare at her, I had this compulsion to yell “HUG! JUST HUG!” at the screen. There was so much tension and for some reason I just wanted these one-time bitter enemies to just hug it out.

But the Hound, true to form, did the next best thing - he called her a cold little bitch. “I suppose that’s why you’re still alive,” he huffed, zipping out of there before she could mock his grudging respect for her.

Gendry, however, was much more obviously happy to see his old friend from the Kingsroad, Harrenhal, and the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Arya threw him a few almost-flirty looks.

She even asked him to create a new weapon for her, which looked something like a cross between a sword, a spear and a bow. Oh, she has plans, my deadly little delight. Please murder many zombastards, and soon.

Zing! Best Lines

Lots of contenders here - given not a huge amount of action/death was taking place, the writers really punched up the comedy moments. But my favourites were:

Dolorous Ed: Careful, he’s got blue eyes!
Tormund Giantsbane: I’ve always had blue eyes!


Qyburn: Poor girl. The pox will take her within the year.
Bronn: (coughing up wine) Which girl?!?!

Eww, Gross

When Euron MacGregor put his hand on Cersei’s stomach and said he’s going to put a prince in her belly, I threw up a little in my mouth.

Boo, sucks

I was reliably informed we would see Ghost return this season, and I did not see Ghost return this episode. I want to see Ghost return this episode. Yes, Dany’s dragons are cool, but isn’t it time Jon gets a moment to introduce her to his amazingly cool fantasy beast? And a lot of dog-owners talk about how their pets sometimes creepily watch them while the humans try to make the beast with two backs. Maybe Ghost could rival Drogon in the intense stare stakes?

Also - how the HELL did Jorah Mormont arrive at Winterfell, where Lyanna Mormont had a vocal role and WE DID NOT GET A MEETING?!?! DENIED!

Thank you all once again for your patience, dear readers!

As many of you know, I was asked to be a guest on the first live episode of Foxtel's Game of Thrones companion show, Thrones 360. I also did my show "Raven On" in Sydney the night before filming, so it was a PACKED few days.

Make sure you follow my Facebook page to get updates, recap notifications and other fun content.

Most of all, I have to thank the dedicated readers who subscribe to my Patreon page. Your support is life-affirming; I owe every last one of you. Here are a just a smattering of names I owe big time:

Amanda G, Andrew T, Brent L, Brittany W, Caroline M, Catherine F, David C, Elana M, Gemma L, Greg R, Hazel F, Jessica WW, Joe R, Judy C, Kyla K, Kylie F, Leanne, Liam B, Mark W, Michael N, Michelle, and MJK. Thank you, marvellous people!

7 Responses to ‘Raven On Recap: GoT S8E1 "Winterfell"’

she_jedi asserts...

Posted April 17
"Qyburn just appears like a coldsore after using a tester lipstick." Oh man, I laughed so hard at this line, your GoT recapping skills have only sharpened after their long hiatus.

If HBO kills off Tormund before Tormienne becomes a thing they will answer to me. Also I suddenly find myself shipping Arya and Gendry quite intensely. So much to look forward to!

Respond to this comment

jl mutters...

Posted April 17
I have missed these recaps, amazing stuff. Keep writing, I'll keep reading.

Respond to this comment

yoranje is gonna tell you...

Posted April 17
Welcome back MoK,
I have been looking forward to your recaps almost as much as seeing the show (yes, almost - sorry about that). And well done on your performance on the 360 recap.
A couple of notes:
1. You might be right that Bran will be Jaimie's saviour but I think it will be Sam. "You killed my Father because you had to, well he (Jaimie) did the same with yours. And my Father still had all his marbles!" (maybe not that last bit).
2. The dragons know that Jon is a Targeryan which may be why Drogon is so disapproving of the snogging. They know where to draw the family line. Or maybe Drogon is just getting turned on in which case Raygun (or whatever) better keep his tail to the ground.
3. I think the young Arryn lad will now return as a warrior. The soldiers he went off with weaned him and he will now be a force.
OK not notes as much as predictions ... so ... all kittens, discuss!

Respond to this comment

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 17
Huzzah! welcome back MOK, and it's wonderful to be reading your recaps, watching you on throners360 and I only wish I could see/hear the live broadcast with the silver-tongued Stu at the Powerhouse.

Last week I rewatched season one, someone involved in the show recommended a rewatch because it sets up a lot of stuff for the final season.

You have already alluded to the way the army arrived in town the way it did in season one, but also the return of sexposition where stuff is explained while naked women draped themselves around possible the same brothel than Littlefinger owned.

Respond to this comment

NBlob would have you know...

Posted April 18
Is the Onion Knight "a sort of quasi-hand-of-the-king-in-the-north" or a hemi-semi-demi-hand-of-the-King-in-the-north."

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted April 18
If I were the King, I think that one addition to the staff would be a Hand Job of the King position.

Oh, wait, Robert had those.

Respond to this thread

Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 23
Conan was wrong.
"What is best in life?"
"More Got and more MoK recaps."
(Barbarian mutterings of approval, messy drinking.)

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Raven On Recap: GoT S8E1 "Winterfell"'

"Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda"

Posted April 2 by John Birmingham

I found this, via Murph, to be very amusing.


To set the stage – Captain Rogers and his host nation ally Black Panther positioned a Wakandan infantry battalion in close order on the plains outside Benin Zana, the capital city of Wakanda. While they were transported to the battlefield by vehicle, these craft were sent away. This dramatically cut down on the tactical mobility of the overall force and forced an engagement at that location. Given the enemy had superior numbers, this complete disregard of manoeuvre was a critical mistake.

It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.

Captain Roger’s disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. However, his next sin was far more grievous.

You can read the whole thing here at

12 Responses to ‘"Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda"’

WA n'ker has opinions thus...

Posted April 2
Good analysis. Perhaps too many egotistical super heroes inflicted with hubris?

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted April 2
Jesus, he missed, chain gun, Claymore, Foo Gas and Cluster bombs. I left out Land Mines cos thats not PC.

OH..BTW if anybody is curious as to why I have popped back on all of a sudden, I am on DETOX from the XBOX COD Black ops...

Therbs would have you know...

Posted April 3
Overdone the capping of fkn muppets? That just don't add up.

Respond to this thread

jl mutters...

Posted April 3
Too funny.

Especially liked the mention of the dreaded OER as applied to superheroes.

jl mutters...

Posted April 3
Oh yeah, I should have broken the acronym down- "Officer Evaluation Report."

Respond to this thread

Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted April 3
The battle actually made sense to me, because each side had an ulterior motive.

The Wakandans knew that the real game was buying time for Shuri to complete the operation on Vision. The enemy was numerically superior but rather, uh, unsophisticated, so they put on a big show to make sure the attackers' attention stayed focused on them.

On the other hand, they didn't realise Proxima was actually playing the same game, inverted. She knew that Corvus had already infiltrated the city and so a big set-piece battle served her interests as well, for the same reason.

I rather liked the symmetry of that, each side was being pulled into the same trick they thought they were playing on the other.

Respond to this comment

Oldy asserts...

Posted April 4
I know I'm probably alone here, but as a 40+ year fan, I've never hated a movie more. Infinity War was very nearly a franchise-killer for me.

As it is, I've zero interest in Endgame. I guess I'll see it on Blu-Ray sometime...

Respond to this comment

Dick ducks in to say...

Posted April 10
Completely off topic, but did you know you had been credited with authoring The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck at The Betoota Advocate?

Respond to this comment

Vovchara mutters...

Posted April 15
The questions I had after watching this particular battle were:
Where are machinegun emplacements?
Where are mortars?
Where is artillery?
Helicopter gunships?
Any kind of ranged weapons? They don't even have bows!! FFS
Why are they using medieval weapons without medieval tactics, losing any kind of formation so soon?

To crash Wakanda you basically need one division of mechanized infantry.

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted April 18
Wakanda had had a pretty well-armed military, although apparently not a very large one, their main defence being concealment and discreet agent-level actions outside their own borders where necessary. However that military had just been affected by Killmonger's coup and a lot of its equipment had been destroyed by that fighting, keeping Wakandan armaments out of Killmonger's hands being an explicit goal of the loyalists.

Respond to this thread

Vovchara is gonna tell you...

Posted April 24
Really? Where? This is what I saw, Guys with spears. I am sorry, I misspoke, you don't need a mechanized division. A couple of Roman legions would do.

Respond to this comment

Vovchara ducks in to say...

Posted April 24
But even with melee weapons, here is how the battle of Wakanda should have been: Replace Titus Pullo with "Captain America" XD

Respond to this comment

Respond to '"Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda"'

The Dead Don't Die

Posted April 2 into Lunch Time Video by John Birmingham

Close the Oscar nomination booth. We have this year's winner.

4 Responses to ‘The Dead Don't Die’

FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted April 2
Ahh, i just saw this where all the cool zombies hang out (twitter) i have to crank up the VPN when i get home so i can watch the Twilight Zone ep they dropped for free as well.

Respond to this comment

Dirk would have you know...

Posted April 2
I'll see your zombies and I'll raise you with an alt history version of a little band:

Respond to this comment

Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3
I am like, totally gonna see both of those fillums.

Respond to this comment

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted April 16
I am looking forward to this one, might even check it out on the big screen. For small screen zombie drama, I would recommend Neflix's Korean series KINGDOM, except for the fact that it only runs to six episodes (more have been commissioned) and the final episode is such a dramatic cliffhanger that my narrative organ almost herniated itself when it simply spooled on to the Ultraman trailer. For those without Netflix when you finish a series it goes straight to the trailer of another series it thinks you might like.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'The Dead Don't Die'

WW 3.1 “It’s not easy being green”

Posted April 1 by John Birmingham

From Dirk:

NBlob posted an interesting question, which IMHO deserves something more then just a simple in line response.
Quote: One of the most interesting things in WoC was the transplanted social contexts of up timers, feminism, LGBTQ, & race were discussed, but not the Green movement.
Would it be possible to kick off the Green Movement without Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, without the blights of oil spills, dead rivers, introduced species. Or would we accelerate Pell Mell into a hellscape of neonicanatoids, organochlorines, and hormone disrupters?

Historical context:
Post WW2 Western Europe and to a lesser extent the United States were more or less industrialized but to a large degree rural country. Small scale farming was the norm, with big industry concentrated in urban areas. And at those places pollution was already rampant.
I’ll give you an example. As I am typing this, I can look at a small river 8 meters away from my desk. 70 years ago, this was more or less used as a sewer for small scale ironworking, shipbuilding and a coal to gas plant that supplied heating gas for this part of the city. It took from the late 60s to the late 80s to clean up the river, with the remaining brownfield site reworked to housing in the decade following that.
On the other hand, the waste that society produced was mild. Most products were packaged in (treated) paper, sold without rapping and disposable plastic bags were in a distant future. The fridge made his first appearance over here in the late 50s, so shopping was mostly a daily occurrence.
Organic waste was picked up even before sanctioned recycling by small traders called “schillenboeren”. Literally that means “peel traders”. Edible refuse was sold to lice stock holding farmers (Pigs will eat almost anything) and the rest went up the compost heap to be sold as fertilizer and top soil for the next spring.
Green movement and/or government intervention.
So how green will our 1955 be? Probably greener than it would have been. Footage from Tsjernobyl and Fukushima would make the appetite for nuclear energy a lot lower. Other factors would be more economical. Norway and The Netherlands are sitting on vast bubbles of natural gas and in the North Sea is enough oil for decades. So, coal could be on its way out in Europe.
Governments would be eager to pick off other low hanging fruit. Recycling, CFC free fridges and spray cans and lead-free gasoline intermixed with ethanol are the first to spring to mind. Intensive agriculture pioneered in the US and rolled out by people like Sicco Mansholt will supply cheap food and other materials. Manure can be used as a source for green gas which can be used in greenhouse farming. Early solar and wind power as well as city planning – southward facing roofs, utility ducts and city-wide warming systems will do the rest.
There will be green movement, attacking the excesses and finding itself in a watchdog role not unlike people in road and child safety. So less militant but more influence.

17 Responses to ‘WW 3.1 “It’s not easy being green” ’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 1
"sold without rapping"

Dirk mumbles...

Posted April 1
The Queen's English is not my native tongue :)

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted April 2
Apologies, but the internet is so vast I wondered if there was a sales rap, just like I did a search the other day for "words that start with p and end with x". A dedicated page for that, too, exists.

Respond to this thread

she_jedi asserts...

Posted April 1
Would the decline of coal in Europe also hasten the demise of mining in the UK? And what knock on effect would this have with the rise of Thatcher and neo-liberalism?

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 1
You're very kind.
A couple of thoughts.
The exploitation of gas fields is technically difficult, for years they vented and burnt the gas ( the flame we associate with refineries) because it was more difficult and dangerous to handle ( compress to liquefy & transport) than it was worth. Perhaps with some leadership from governments ( yeah, tooth fairy riding on a unicorn) they may be able to steer a market for gas, but that would not overcome the technical difficulties, up time technologies will short circuit the development, but not create the market. When the market is flooded with cheap gasoline (every country & gas co exploiting 5 decades of discoveries) ( ooh, impact on OPEC having market flooded?) will there be demand?

Democracies (with apologies to Churchill) will only do the right thing after exploiting every other option. Without public pressure would they ban CFCs etc? Would there be the public pressure?
An awareness of finite global resources or 'eco-consciousness' grew from less popular than botulism in the early 70's, to an opinion shared by a majority only in the last decade. Responses to that understanding is still er problematic (see reactions plastic bag bans.)Trading off even hypothetical economic gains against distant harm is a hard sell.
I think down-timers would be resistant to maybes and perhapses like Fukashima, 3 Mile Island & Chernobyl, or Bhopal and similar (one assumes they'd be prevented in do-over world) would have an minimal impact on them.

Respond to this comment

Dirk reckons...

Posted April 2
Good question. But it will be a little more difficult to answer. I am combining She Jedi’s question with NBlob’s remarks because there is overlap between them.

What is coal and why became it so popular?
Coal has multiple uses. It was powering ships, trains and (in solid and later in gasified form) powerplants, in gasified form provided streetlighting and was part and parcel in the making of steel and in the upcoming chemical industries of the early 1910s onwards. The UK gained its superpower status from around the 1750s over the wind and wood powered and wheat fed Dutch by the virtue of having abundant supplies of coal in Wales and later finds up in Yorkshire and the introduction of the potato.

So, from say the 1830s the economies of Europe were powered more and more on coal. The UK went through a rapid phase of industrialization in that time period. With her empire she was building her own market which revenues were needed to pay for the Royal Navy and to import foodstuffs from her colonies. The latter is a consequence of the rainy UK climate. Potato farming took the edge of, but in essence Britain has a too low crop yield to sustain itself foodwise.

By the late 1820s coal gas lighting was introduced in major cities and mass transportation by steam train kicked off in earnest at the end of the decade. Around the 1880s further coal gasification brought gas into the home for cooking and lighting. The byproducts of this opened up the way for the naissance of the chemical industries in for example the German Ruhr. This situation continued till around the First World War.

The decline of coal
First off of coal was the Navy. Coal dust was a fire hazard and stokers could on be employed on dreadnought ships in more meaningful roles. So just behind the US Navy (Texas and Oklahoma were swimming in the stuff) the Royal Navy lowered its demand for coal to nearly zero by the late 20s.

From the 1920s a second big client was switching over. Railways gradually replaced steam for (diesel-)electric trains and locomotives. In WW II however steam trains made a comeback in occupied Europe and the UK, but that was its last hoorah. By the early 70s most countries had switched over to either diesel or electric, but a lot of steam engines especially in the 50s and 60s were held in reserve status in case of war.

The discovery of natural gas in Norway and the Netherlands, the increased import after the war of cheap high-quality coal from US and later Australia and the abundance of oil, drove in the final nail.
The Dutch were the first to close up shop from 1962 onward and closed their last mine in 1974. During the same time the transition to natural gas took place. With the city gas infrastructure already in place and utilities being in the hands of municipalities, provinces or the state (like as in a lot of the rest of Europe; this in contrast for example to the US and Australia) there was no problem nor discussion. As it even meant there was less need for imported coal and gas was in such ample supply, a lot was and is exported.

The rest of Europe also pulled out of mining. The Germans and the Brits (they still have some open pit mines) are the last ones. In Germany’s case the mine mostly peat (Brown Coal) but with their abundance in solar (Germany is there leading at the moment, on sunny days flooding the market over here), that will eventually pewter out. France and Belgium went mostly nuke, with Germany and the UK following suit.

The impact on our world in 3.1

Gas instead of coal: For continental Europe it would be not that big of an issue to ram that thru. Even the venting wouldn’t be that much of an issue especially when greenhouse agriculture was setup in and around the gas fields. Plants love CO2 and heat so you would be killing two birds with one stone.

Britain and Coal: As Britain was broke after the war, most of the effort would be towards reconstruction. And adding gas piping in the rebuild is then not that expensive, especially if you can pump either coal gas or natural gas through the pipes. After that it’s probably a matter of numbers. If nat gas is cheaper in the future the Brits will swap over, especially if the make their own finds. British Gas will probably still be in the hands of the government so there is no problem in ramming it thru either.

Oil: There will be cheap oil in abundance. Problem is that cars will be mostly unaffordable for your average European apart from a few VW Beetles and Citroen 2CVs. The car boom in Europe would as in our time be coming in the 60s, and bicycles and mopeds would be the main form of personal transportation. Not that that would be a problem, with the bulk of people living in walking or biking distance to their places of work.

British politics: The policies of the Churchill and Atlee administrations will have been by our standards very left wing. Public works, central planning, all the good things of Keynesian theory you can wish for. And apart from Western Germany – which had a 12-year experience with a state run economy – most of Europe will be in the same boat. Neoliberalism in the Rhineland variant will probably be the route of choice for Germany. Universal Health care, family allowances and universal education had been introduced there already under the Nazi’s, the autobahn just needed a dash of paint. The most pressing need was that housing and industry needed to be rebuilt. With an early introduction of the D-Mark, Germany with one stroke takes out black market profiteering and the excesses of Nazi economic policy. It’s draconian and you can pull it off only once but a number of other European countries will probably do the same.

One thing though Churchill (with India still firmly in his grip) will want to achieve is to position himself in the middle of Europe. And this time De Gaulle weakened by the loss of his colonies, a quarter of France occupied and only given token support by Southern Italy, will not be able to stop that. Germany will play ball, as would Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Benelux block. So neo liberalism can come but only in a very mild form. Britain first needs to get his political and economic ducks in a row before that can happen.

The humble masses: With your average European only having enjoyed 8 years of primary education, and being instilled with a sense of order and respect for authority, still have a modicum of trust in the government. And do not underestimate the power of mass media. When you can convince people, you can survive nuclear war by hiding under your desk (Duck, and Cover), you can sell them everything, even the points like the lack of plastic bags (Brown paper or canvas will do nicely as substitutes), nuclear power and less hazardess chemicals.

tqft reckons...

Posted April 2
You might be aware but I will go on anyway:
From NBlob
"Perhaps with some leadership from governments ( yeah, tooth fairy riding on a unicorn) they may be able to steer a market for gas, but that would not overcome the technical difficulties, up time technologies will short circuit the development,"
& NBlob mentions " exploitation of gas fields is technically difficult,"
These 2 go together if the uptimers have maps/data on where the resources are. I don't mean general direction but maps of dry wells vs holes with stuff at the bottom.

Drilling is expensive, really expensive. Dry wells are a dead loss, time and money. Plus drilling tech from uptime would be much much better.
A trade of data on exactly where to drill for release sell comparatively cheaply should work.
The first company that takes the deal is going to save heaps and get ahead.

jl would have you know...

Posted April 2
I do wonder if there would be an early start with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as "fracking." Hate it all you want, but people aren't going to let those sorts and amounts of resources sit in the ground. Plus, natural gas is far cleaner than coal.

However, there are very serious technological hurdles to winning gas in this fashion- you need lots of computer power and very specialized sorts of industry, not the sort of thing to pop up in a ten-year period.

Half the battle, though, is knowing that something that can be done.

Dirk asserts...

Posted April 2
Another hurdle would be distribution outside of main urban areas. There will be research on it I think, but also on harvesting methane out of sewage treatment and composting.

Respond to this thread

jason mutters...

Posted April 2
Just a thought. There would be a rise in electric cars (assuming) which would reduce emissions dramatically as well as seriously affecting the income stream of Saudi Arabia. Possibly even the rise of state supported terrorism.

Dirk puts forth...

Posted April 2
There were, even in our 50s and 60s. Mostly as replacement for horse drawn carts. For example this: (in Dutch, run it thru Google translate for the text).

A more fruitful approach to counter the renaissance of Islamic fundamentalism, would be the redrawing of the map for that region, this time to ethnic lines. A Kurdish state broken off from Iran, Iraq and Syria, one for the Druze from Lebanon and Syria, bringing back the Turkmen to Turkey, joining up the Shia of southern Iraq with Iran, and the Arabs in Iran with those in Iraq, those kinds of schemes.

Also crack down on corrupt leaders and officials and slowly built up the nations to points were those countries in their entirety would have more to lose then to gain would they return to extremism. Ataturk's Turkey was a good example of that.

Respond to this thread

HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted April 2
I just wanna know, given the greening of the plant, what about the ducks, I mean; Ill still be able to shoot my bag and start Stewin the little blighters right????

Dirk asserts...

Posted April 2
Aboard HMS Havoc we have made provision for you to have ample supply of them, and a complementary Green Egg as well. Thou shall not be forgotten.

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted April 2
So long as I am paired ( think HOT bunking) with Commander Jane Wilet, ( I might have a crush on her) I am happy happy happy!

Dirk reckons...

Posted April 2
Information on Rear Admiral Willet is currently classified as Top Secret Oyster. You will be informed in due course.

Respond to this thread

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted April 2
m, i'm not seeing it in the thread as a consideration, but here goes:

1- The planet is on a war or threat of war footing
2- contesting of areas and bumps and battles greater than cold war ones will take place before the main event
3 - The above, alone will have an impact on whats given priority, both fro exploration, fuel usage , types etc. I think RAPID industrialisation will take place...greening the plant comes after Josef is in a fkn box!

jl would have you know...

Posted April 2
Right on all three points, Havock.

Actually, mention is made (briefly) in 3.1 about the modernization of the steel industry. In many areas re: industrialization/environment you can have your cake and eat it, too. It just takes a little extra planning and a long term view.

One of the things I simply love about JB's universe is imaging all that would be possible if society and government had perfect foresight. Of course, the bad guys have this advantage as well, it's what drives Stalin and his douchebros.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'WW 3.1 “It’s not easy being green” '

Things from the future past

Posted March 29 by John Birmingham

I've been working with Jason Lambright and Dirk de Jager on the next AoT novel and recently had them give some thinking time over to what sort of uptime tech might get quickly adapted and pushed out to the military by the mid 1950s.

I've also been thinking about consumer tech, but that's a different area.

Below is a far from comprehensive list of Dirk and Jason’s goodie bag. Overnight, Dirk sent me a some more thoughts about the whole process:

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something in NATO Olive

There is something about tinkering with the past and the all-encompassing theme of these books namely “What if?”. Oh, let me introduce myself first: my name is Dirk and I am one of the minions in JB’s sweatshop doing research and contributing a few words and ideas.

We have been thinking up a nice little scenario and already are on track for a great addition to the series. And we thought up on most of the toys we will be using in this book. Things like the HK 416 assault rifle, an update M60 main battle tank and the F-15 Eagle. But even three decent minds can forget something.

So, in the ye old and trusted Burger tradition we present to you The Pepsi Challenge. For this we have devised two categories:

First category:

Existing weapon, procedure of tech thingie. For this you may scowler the interwebs and the Pedia of Wiki for something cool. Couple of rules: it must be able to be build by mid 70s technology and be feasible to be used in the field and/or in daily life. And off course we haven’t used it already. We will be replying to each and every post, so you can send in another cool thing if we have already come up with one of those.

Second category:

Made up weapon, procedure of tech thingie with a degree of realism. So, no unicorn fart powered thermo nuclear tipped glidebombs or ICBM launching torpedoes. Bonus points can be gathered for things that are especially sneaky. For mentioned rules on the tech base also apply.

The prize: the two winners will get a cameo in 3.1. We can’t promise though you won’t be overrun by a speeding T-72 tank, get blown up by an incoming mortar shell or sleep with the fishes on the end of your paragraph. But if the input is good, we will do our best …

The fine print: the intellectual property will be become owned by Slim Jim Enterprises and the proceeds of these will be misused by Mr. Davidson on procuring dames and probably Columbian’s finest. But as a fan of the series you will be fine by that.

And if and when this post hits 50 replies, Jason and I will waterboard JB into publishing a new snippet of the book on the channel. So, thinking caps on chaps and chapettes and surprise us. We know you can …

And the list so far...

Gerber multitool
Zip ties
Permethrin (An insecticide and medicated ointment for treating nasty inset bites)
Blood type ID patches
Baby Wipes
IZLID (laser designator)
The metric system! (But not in the US, of course, unless Kolhammer gets his way via some diabolical Quiet Room project).
Improved First Aid Kits, training, the concept of "the golden hour"
Medevac, casevac
Quick Clot powder, Combat gauze (jam into wounds)
Combat Application Tourniquet
Israeli pressure bandage
Zodiac boats
Suppressed weapons
Katadyn water filters
V-40 grenade (with reliable fuse)
Night vision goggles. (Curious to see just how far those would advance in ten years, given the very obvious advantages to whichever side got the lead).
Flameless ration heaters
Jungle Boots, Vietnam style (current issue)
Glow sticks
GPS navigation tools (Again, this is one, as we've seen in out TL, with massive civilian commercial applications. I suspect it would advance very quickly, along with satellite tech in general)
Black Hornet PD-100 mini recon drone
Improved maps, NVG readable
Improved socks, dacron mix, silver thread
Nicotine gum with vitamin C
Dextrose energy tablets, mixes
Power inverters for rough field power sources
Mini solar panels
Wind up propaganda radios, mini, air-droppable, tuned to VOA
Armored glass for vehicles
Slat armor, Hesco basket mesh
Hesco baskets
Sawzall, battery powered
RPO-A-SHMEL "Bumblebee" RPG Flamethrower (M202)
Water powered field generator
Folding rubber cups

69 Responses to ‘ Things from the future past’

jason would have you know...

Posted March 29
Solar panels
GM Crops
Hydrogen to power vehicles (particularly ships)

Dirk mutters...

Posted March 29
Velcro and Solar panels are already in the book. GM crops and Gas to Liquid are great options. I'll chalk you down for one.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 29
Post it notes

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29

Respond to this thread

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – Kevlar

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
Is already in the book.

Respond to this thread

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted March 29

A waterboarding machine

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
First DARPA exoskeletons were built on 80s tech. And we have an interrogation scene in the book (if that stays in) that even goes one step further.

Respond to this thread

insomniac mumbles...

Posted March 29
Is the 70s limitation just to give room to move in any future books?

I still maintain that a full set of (at least) US patents and applications would have been contained in the ship's information store, and some of those haven't even been applied for yet. Plus all the other non patent technical disclosures. You're losing 40 years of even relatively simple technological advancement.

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29
you can find me response a little more down on this page.

Respond to this thread

balders reckons...

Posted March 29
3D Manufacturing
Filament (Plastics, rubbers, etc)
Sintered Laser (Metals, etc)
Improved battery technology
High powered LED lighting
Low power portable computing
Internet (I cant remember in the books if it was being rolled out to public - or if it was just military
Cat pictures
Gig Economy (not a physical thing)
Augmented Reality (its probably already in the books)

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
Cat or CAD pictures? :D

I like the Sintered laser and the batteries, I'll chalk you up for that one.

balders has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
cat pictures - you know the 95% of the 5% of the internet that isn't porn - everyone loves good cat pictures

I think that the low power / more efficient electronics would have a huge boost especially in terms of miniaturization, they wouldn't be able to produce a chip on a 7nm die, but they'd be able to implement a bunch of lessons learned and the time to get down to what we are producing these days would greatly reduced

Dirk mutters...

Posted March 29
On the one hand we would keep our brave new world clean of these excesses, but you have a point. Let me enlighten you however what the internet would look like in our little world.

Computers are expensive, so most of those you would find in the military, government, large companies and in academia. Think 80286s from the late 80s, though there is a section in the book working with reversed engineered Raspberry Pi's in the book running on Ubuntu/Linux. So it's more a 70s/80s style of computer use. Databases, communications, bookkeeping those kind of applications.

Digital pictures are another point: sure first gen will be in spy satellites, but for taking snaps we would go for Polaroid camera's. So cat pics could happen, but more or less on a physical company whiteboard then on the internet.

Respond to this thread

pedrogb puts forth...

Posted March 29
The taser. With two settings. Stun. Kill

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29
Was already in the first series but I like the idea :)

Respond to this thread

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
The 70s tech line is indeed a threshold intended to give us wiggleroom for future books and not to make the conflict between the Warsaw Pact and NATO too one sided. A more then 15 year tech gap would make for very short books ...

But you also have to factor in the tech/manufacturing base and economic constraints in our alternate 50s and for example multi year material research you have to do to make certain kinds of things. For example we are not using Chobham or Burlington armor for tanks, haven't fielded the F-35 or gone for nuclear powered aircraft carriers in 3.1. We tried to strike a balance on what we could get into the field in sufficient numbers, not going for the ultimate but for what would have been more then good enough.

True there will be things even more advanced known already, but that insight isn't lost. It's still on a shelf waiting for the industrial base to catch up to that.

jl mutters...

Posted March 29
Ditto what Dirk says.

Respond to this thread

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted March 29
Not sure if this is in the books already but microwave ovens?

Nocturnalist asserts...

Posted March 29
They can have microwave ovens off '70s tech but you have to wait until 1985 for custom kitchen deliveray-ay-ayys.

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29
There are microwave ovens (even affordable ones) and even custom kitchens ;) courtesy of a company that runs on the IKEA principle. And that wasn't even a stretch as the first ones were sold in our time even as early as 1946.

Same would go for fridges and freezers, vacuumcleaners and washing-machines and even dishwashers. The constraints would have been more economical (can we afford them on mostly the husbands wage?) and partly cultural. The second feminist wave would have come a little more early (the pill is on the market), but most especially Western European and for example Australian households would have been more paternalistic.
As a base we took this

But it's food for thought: what would a typical day for a lets say 27 year old She Jedi in our 1955 would have looked like?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 29
I think there's a whole section somewhere about cheap Russian microwave ovens.

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29

Respond to this thread

FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted March 29
Doesn't fit in the weapon category but what about Gore-Tex?

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29
Great, it is in the book but I will chalk you down for one.

jl puts forth...

Posted March 29
Early MOLLE is in there, too.

Respond to this thread

Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
FRED - the Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device. Featured in Australian rat packs since at least the 70s. Bit bigger than the American rat pack tin opener, with a built in rudimentary spoon. I still have a few in the kitchen drawer!

In a food related vein, tinned rats replaced with soft packaging ala current Aust and US rat packs/MREs.

If we are potentially going for newish Infantry weapons, perhaps something like the old Stoner Weapons System, where there is a basic working parts unit that can fit with different barrels, feed methods (belts or mags), grips, butts, yada yada as required, and all parts are interchangeable.

Can't think of anything else just yet....

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29

I like it!

On weapons we went for a standardized mix of trusted ones that could have been made on the tech bases. We took a serious look at the Stoner, but dropped that. It would have been too much of a compromise. Our mix however is NATO wide so for example a French made barrel would fit a Swedish made weapon. The mix is made up from the following:

Pistol: 9mm Glock 17
SMG: 9mm Uzi (MP5 for certain special forces)
AR: 5.56mm HK 416 (which will go under a few names M4A2, G38 etc.) for grenadiers with an underslung M320 grenadelauncher
SAW: 5.56mm FN Minimi (M249 in US service)
GPMG: 7.62mm FN MAG (M240 and L7)
HMG: .50 Browning M2

I have to give a shout out to Ian McCulloms excellent youtube channel Forgotten Weapons which has been a great source of info.

Respond to this thread

Keith puts forth...

Posted March 29
Cat 1:

Space blanket.
Hang-Up Parachute Release Assembly.
Light Marker Distress.
Aluminium foil.

Cat 2:

Hot Spot Channel:

When soldiers are patrolling in the jungle, or jungle-like conditions, their radio signal will be severely hindered or destroyed by the dense foliage. But not with the Hot Spot Channel! The Hot Spot Channel will shoot a secure signal straight up through the foliage from which the patrol can communicate (for dustoff, fire support, resupply etc.). The HQ element can easily communicate with the patrol until the Hot Spot Channel is deactivated.

How does it work? Well, let us explain by saying: Hahaha, you don't want to know. No, seriously, you leave the technology up to us, let's just say we hope you already have kids.

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
I'll chalk you down for the space blanket and the Parachute release. "Tin foil" was already in use in our time but that's an honorable mention.

And the Hotspot channel is cool, we are a little short on jungle in book 1, but something like that will find a place in future books.

Keith swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2
Too easy. Thanks, Dirk.

Respond to this thread

Phil reckons...

Posted March 29
Can't remember if it's in the books or not but rapid turnaround DNA testing. I'm thinking the uptimers wouldn't be keen on exposure to certain infections that were running around at the time. Also genealogical testing may be handy to prevent accidentally sleeping with your great-grandmother, although I'm sure some perverts would want to use it the other way around

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29
Paul Brasch put a lot of Reichsmarks in these kinda things in the first series. It will take though a lot of computing power so it's probably only reserved at the moment to the rich and famous and academic hospitals. But the idea is cool!

Respond to this thread

Phil puts forth...

Posted March 29
Can't remember if it's in the books or not but rapid turnaround DNA testing. I'm thinking the uptimers wouldn't be keen on exposure to certain infections that were running around at the time. Also genealogical testing may be handy to prevent accidentally sleeping with your great-grandmother, although I'm sure some perverts would want to use it the other way around

jl asserts...

Posted March 29
Cheap paternity tests, to be found at the local pharmacy. What a great disruptor.

Respond to this thread

Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
Can't WAIT
Can't WAIT

AoT was my gateway drug into JB minionhood. That cover combined all the shit I loved - Clancyesque, Military Silhouettes, Time Travel, and the 2.1 thing.

But... who's working on Time Travel? They know it's a reality...

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 29

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
There will be research on that field. Einstein and a young Stephen Hawking will be decimating the footage with an attitude of "WTF happened?"

But there are a few things barring it. First one is money. There are a lot of things that will spring fruit for a lot less money. Eradication of polio for example and alternate energy. The space race, though with Stalin's hammer project eating up most of the means for the Soviet space program, that will be a little more balanced.

Secondly what if the Manning Pope experiment was a fluke? Can we reliably bring back the 21C's back to exactly where they came from, and what kinda distorted world will they find there? And how long will the research take? Wouldn't they not all be dead before it is feasible?

Respond to this thread

tqft ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Double walled stainless steel thermos - $9.99 from Aldi
Insulated shopping bag - $1 or 2 from local supermarket

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Love both of them!

Respond to this thread

jl asserts...

Posted March 29
This thread is going nuts- sweet. Lemme throw in a couple more things that are indispensable today but weren't obvious way back when.

Firefly IR beacon
PLB (Personal Locator Beacon, think IFF for grunts)
Tritium illuminated compass (SANDY 183)
SAM splint (flexible splint)
SureFire flashlight
Nomex Combat Gloves

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Oh yeah, this is implied but I'll mention it specifically- the MIL STD 1913 Picatinny rail.

Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Ok, I'll drop in a guilty pleasure of mine: the 2014 Italian MRE: and the 2018 MRE #23 of the US army

jl reckons...

Posted March 29
MREs, while perhaps a standard format, can't really be standardized across the board. Each country has its own prefs- imagine giving Yanks kippers, for example.

Respond to this thread

rschappe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 29
Manned space flight
Satellites, military recon

Dirk reckons...

Posted March 30
Bless you, you have at least 3 novels to pick up on:

Sats are in this one:

Respond to this thread

insomniac puts forth...

Posted March 30
Does Harry miss Meghan?

Respond to this comment

Steve puts forth...

Posted March 30
How about logistics, goddamit? Nothing happens without logistics.

Here is my list of suggestions, for starters:

Standard size pallets and shipping containers
Forklifts and lift trucks
RO-RO ships
NATO stock numbers
Bar codes
RFID tags
Total Quality Management in manufacturing (Deming is already developing this in the 1940s)
Six Sigma continuous improvement and defect reduction
Gantt charts
Find Jack Dorsey’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s great grandparents and kill them all – you’ll save millions of hours of lost productivity

jl mumbles...

Posted March 30
You are quite right. RO-RO and shipping containers are already pieces of the puzzle, the rest can be put in the mix.

Respond to this thread

Myriads mutters...

Posted March 30
Nail Guns
Bio-Organic insulation (Mushroom based)
Cheap digital watches (Analog dies decades earlier)
Ceramic technologies (starting with blades)
Disposable razors
Disposable Diapers
"Day After" pills for pregnancy prevention
Mass produced cheep 'roller ball' style pens.


Modern psychological trauma therapies
"The Joy of Sex" (Popular sex guide comes sooner as birth control has)
Urban planning of the 'walking downtown' style
Understanding of the effect of 'Big Box' chain style corporations and the effects they cause.
TMZ style pop-culture reporting. (And celebrity culture in toto)

That should have something of use in there.

Respond to this comment

Dirk mutters...

Posted March 30
I'll chalk you down for the Bic pen Myriads. Urban planning is already in the book, though more bicycle based in Western Europe with good public transport.

Note to self: put the Evian in the winecooler and pre-heat the Egyptian cotton towels. At GWC we pride ourselves in adding a touch of class to torture ...

Respond to this comment

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 30
Re: surgical interventions, tape & staples replacing some external sutures. Sodium & potassium monitoring. Partial blood products. Informed consent. 5 rights with medication; right patient, right time, right drug, right dose, right delivery.

One of the most interesting things in WoC was the transplanted social contexts ot up timers, feminism, LGBTQ, & race were discussed, but not the Green movement.
Would it be possible to kick off the Green Movement without Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, without the blights of oil spills, dead rivers, introduced species. Or would we accelerate Pell Mell into a hellscape of neonicanatoids, organochlorines, and hormone disrupters?

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted March 31
Excellent suggestions on the medical side of things NBlob, I will chalk you down for those.

On the environmental issues, I am writing at the moment a text that I will ask John to post here on the Burger as a separate blog post. What you are pointing out here has that kind of merit.

jl would have you know...

Posted March 31
I'd think the medical field would explode with the wealth of information brought by the Fleet.

Ask the residents of Pittsburgh circa 1944 whether they'd like a cleaner life- certainly, but they'd want work, too. There'd have to be a balance struck. With foreknowledge of long-term environmental effects real headway could be made much sooner.

Respond to this thread

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted March 31
CBU-55s Thermobarics
OTH / BTH Radar systems
Super Glue

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 31
I'll chalk you down for the WD40. We have done one better on the CBU-55 ... :) Rest is in the book.

Respond to this thread

Naut reckons...

Posted April 1
Computer socks
Hypercolour T-shirts

jl puts forth...

Posted April 1
The Sex Pistols come early.

Respond to this thread

jd quinty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2
I can't remember if Boxer Briefs, introduced in the 90s, were mentioned in the books (I can remember uptime suit patterns were) but I bet they would be widely distributed.
CL-84 Dynavert, a successful but unmarketable Canadian V-TOL prototype from the 70s, I imagine it beefed up in a half-measured attempt to turn it into an osprey.
Teflon coating.

jl asserts...

Posted April 2
You learn something new every day, that CL-84 was ahead of its time. Dirk, you're keeping score, bud.

Boxer shorts per se have been around for a while, but you have a point with boxer briefs. Yeah, they'd prob be a hit, far better than the old "tighty whities"

Another point for teflon coating.

Dirk asserts...

Posted April 2
I am keeping score ;) I was composing an answer to both She Jedi and Nblob, which took me a little longer than I anticipated.

The CL-84 was new to me, tough I have studied the DO-31 ( ). I'll keep both of them in mind.

To the boxers (yes good one) I would add the humble thong then as well though that kind of undergarment would create quit a stir in for example Francist Spain.

Respond to this thread

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 2
Light weight, durable tent / tarp/ hammock/ bivvy material (cuben fibre / dyneema composite fabric)
Titanium mess gear (pot, spork/spoon etc)
Sawyer Micro squeeze water filter (smaller, lighter)

Was looking at this stuff for Zero Day Code fanfic

Dirk asserts...

Posted April 2
I like the tent stuff.

Respond to this thread

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted April 2
Contact lenses
Polarized lenses
105mm Recoilless Rifles (a personal fave)

Dirk mumbles...

Posted April 2
contact lenses are in. The RR's are already obsolete in the series cause of wireguided missiles introduced in 2.3.

Respond to this thread

jd quinty puts forth...

Posted April 2
earpieces, earbuds (but the crummy kind that existed in the 90s), sony walkman-style headphones (with the exposed foam) and the 3.5mm headphone jack (did this 2024 also see the end of the 3.5mm jack?)

Betamax and music/data compact cassettes. 8 Inch floppy disks.

CCTV cameras.

High Pressure Sodium Lights (

Halogen headlamps (is this 50s US just as weird with their headlights compared with the rest of Europe from the 40s-80s? Where at one point they would only permit only two types of rectangular headlights in the 70s and 80s?)

Dirk puts forth...

Posted April 3
I'll chalk you down for the low end earphones. Rumor has it that on the 1956 CES - to be held at Madison Square Garden - RCA will introduce 6-track, following Phillips that will announce at the International Funk Ausstellung later in '55 their line of Running Girl portable cassette players.

Data storage on large magnetic tape is already here, as is CCTV (for military use). And we can expect advances in lighting technology.

Respond to this thread

BostonJoe mutters...

Posted April 4
How about metallurgy in general. It would have far reaching military and industrial impact. The steel and aluminum of the 40s can't come close to what current tech can produce. Hell, most of the whiz bang stuff people mentioned up thread aren't even possible without modern alloys and composites.

Dirk asserts...

Posted April 4
Very true. For this subject we have laid the bar at the late 60s. HY80 steel, Stainless steel and small scale titanium will be in use. As previously mentioned Chobham and Burlington are as of yet not out of the lab.

Aluminum is at a comparable level with scandium/aluminum alloys being in late research.

Respond to this thread

Respond to ' Things from the future past'

Writing in cafes is bullshit

Posted March 28 into Writing by John Birmingham

I’m currently sitting in one of my favourite coffee joints. Pourboy in south Brisbane. (Okay, I guess I'm not any sitting there anymore cos I wrote this hours before posting it). You might have seen me rave about their croque madame because their croque monsieur is fucking awesome.

I find myself here once or twice a week during the school year because I drop Thomas nearby to a bunch of extracurricular stuff before class starts. Pourboy is a great place, but there’s a reason I’m writing this blog post and not the book chapter I should be working on right now. Pourboy is too good. It’s popular and crowded and noisy and I don’t know how any of these pretend bullshit writers and poets and citizen journalists ever get anything done in all of these fucking cafes they seem to live in because... GAH!

It’s busy here.

Funny thing is, it’s not usually this busy when I come through because I get here about 6.30 in the AM. It’s now just after nine, and I’ll be here a while longer while I run down the clock to an interview at the ABC studios down the road.

I brought in the new iPad, thinking I’d get some work done, and I did, but nothing heavy or deep. Not the book chapters I have due, or the TV script I’m working on. Nope. This ain’t the place for that. I avoided getting caught in a social media spiral, so yay for me, I guess. But I’ve been here for nearly two hours now and I’ve basically been triaging emails, writing short blog posts, and knocking over chickenshit admin that I’d leave until it was way too late if I was at my desk.

Given all that, I suppose it hasn’t been a complete write off. In a way it’s been kind of instructive. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the unconscionable waste of time that Twitter has become (and Facebook always was). I’ve been thinking about how I always mean to blog regularly but never quite build up the head of steam to keep it going because I’m so fucking busy during my writing day that I can’t justify spending time on the Burger. And when I down tools at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is more writing.

I wonder then if the thing to do might be to carve out a little time in the early morning a couple of days a week, to do the stuff I’ve been forced to do here today by all these noisy fuckers invading my normally quiet coffee shop.

I’ve come back around to the idea that social networks are poison. That it’s not just the nazis and the advertising and the advertising for Nazis. It’s the very nature of the thing, the way these platforms are engineered to destroy people’s concentration, to lure them into mindless scrolling, and swiping and liking and kommunting. They are also, of course, intellectual property traps. Everything you post on Facebook belongs to the Zuck. Everything. And the original deal the Book made with artists, that the creators would provide content and the Zuck would gather the audience, that’s long gone. Now you provide the content AND you pay for access to the audience.

I’ll admit, it’s a lot of thinking, for a morning coffee stop to fill in some time. But I dont often get the time to sit and think. Even if I can barely hear my own thoughts.

I should do more of it.

16 Responses to ‘Writing in cafes is bullshit’

jl reckons...

Posted March 29
Thanks for the warning re: IP traps. Hadn't thought of that, although I'm not surprised.

Respond to this comment

jason reckons...

Posted March 29
I cant write anything with the TV on let alone in a crowded cafe. Although I do listen to the sounds of a crowded cafe on spotify sometimes when trying to concentrate, hmmm...

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 29
Yeah, me too. It’s weird, innit.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Weirdly this sounds to me like a productive strategy, you admit to yourself its stuff that wouldn't othewise get done. I confess I never considered a graded level of distraction tailored to the work I needed to accomplish as a productivity tool. Nice one.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
I’m a believer in this concept of modes that you seem to be describing. You can write certain content in a certain context, because that’s what you have time for or it’s what you have brainspace (tipping a hat to Tim and Debbie) for.

Sitting in the food court at Brookside at the moment, after eating two greasy pizza slices from the kebab shop waiting for a bus (like the old days I guess).

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 29
I distresses me that I know who you mean by Tim and Debbie.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted April 7
Because it means you’re over 40?

Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted April 9
Age is just a state of mind, damian.

Or should I say, age is just a Braaiiinn Spaaace.

Respond to this thread

Rob mutters...

Posted March 29
I was thinking today that a café might be a good place to study my online degree to avoid distractions at home. I might give it a go, mainly to see if the pretentiousness and embarrassment of getting out a laptop or tablet in a hipster café would make me actually study. As opposed to sitting at home and going look! a dog to pat, look! a cat to meow at, look! a video game to play.

On the plus side of social media, without it I would never had met and continued to know novelists, musicians, artists, art gallery curators and owners. Its been good in a lot of ways. But I have had to filter out the angry posters and tediously easy politics (of which I'm definitely one) .

But as a boredom shifter of the void that is the modern soul, it really needs a hand break. It will probably come in the form of a Facebook myspace moment or an Microsoft anti trust lawsuit.

Respond to this comment

she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
I honestly don’t know how JK Rowling managed to write Harry Potter in a cafe. Maybe it was before they became hipster traps of “pretend bullshit writers”...? Maybe she started it???

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 29
I was pondering this very question just yesterday.

Nocturnalist reckons...

Posted March 29
I suspect she spent a lot of time in there outside the breakfast/lunchtime/after work rushes. (It was owned by a relative, apparently, so at least she didn't have to contend with "Scuse me, but the boss says you have to order something or leave".

damian puts forth...

Posted March 29
I’d hang out for hours in quiet cafés in the 80s and 90s. Mostly they’d be okay if it wasn’t busy and you got at least one coffee or a pot of tea. Worst you would get is after a while a polite “Are you going to order anything else? It’s just there are people waiting for a table...”

I did get writing done that way, though it was with a good old A4 notebook and a pen (or several pens, ball points ran out too fast, felt tip sharpies hadn’t really been invented). That’s while living alone or in share houses, too, which is a very different life.

Respond to this thread

Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
There's a particular caff here that was pretty much my second home in my 30s. I'd knock off the day job at sixish, head in there, eat, then bust out the laptop and write until they threw me out at 10pm and usually go home and put another hour or two in before bed. It was a pain if it got too crowded, in which case I'd go elsewhere, but most of the time the noise level was just right, just enough to lull the looking-for-distraction part of my brain so it didn't interfere with the writing but not enough to, well, interfere with the writing. So maybe it's just a question of finding the *right* café.

Interesting thing was that when I was in a café with a certain amount of background noise I was fine, but on the nights I went to write in the library at ANU where it was much quieter, a single whispered conversation six desks away would drive me insane.

Did you ever work in an old-school newsroom in your journalist days, JB? I know Terry Pratchett said that once you've learned to write surrounded by ringing phones and shouting sub-editors you can write anywhere.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 29
Yeah, it's a weird thing. I have no trouble writing in crowded newsrooms. It's a background buzz, I guess.

she_jedi reckons...

Posted March 31
I’m a business analyst so I have to write requirements documents, business cases etc, so creative but in a formal way? And I find I can write in a mildly noisy office, to the point where i’m doing my writing workshop stuff for uni in the office after hours before I go home because once i’m home the procrastination bug gets me and my creativity dries up. It’s weird!

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Writing in cafes is bullshit'