The problem with all these old Velvet Goldmine fics are their interchangeability. Most of the fics go like this: Slight AU with Arthur and Curt staying together after the Death of Glitter concert or they hook up after the movie's end. There's nothing wrong with either of these plot lines, but the execution is terrible. None of the stories have any kind of real conflict, be it internal or external. They just fall in love, move in, and do their happy couple-of-the-year routine. We all know I have no problem with any of that, but the lack of conflict is fucking absurd given there are a ton possibilities.
Beyond all that, the characterizations are terrible. I get the feeling most of these fics are an expression of my lust for Ewan McGregor and pretty boys in makeup/drag. The funny thing is, I'm not even that upset about the characterization of Curt, as shitty as it was. I'm mad about the characterization of Arthur. Let me tell you why: He is potentially the most interesting character in the entire movie. His life has so many unanswered questions. Why did he get into journalism? Why did he move to New York? Why does he seem so sad now? I just don't get it and I wish I'd explored that instead of all this schmoopy crap.
Anyway, I may do a couple more fics that fall outside the Gold Room Series, but at this point, I just want to tackle that abomination and be done with it. This is all so horrible and depressing. I just...I'd expected amatuer writing, but this stuff is irretrievably bad.
Now that I've got that off my chest, let's rip off the band-aid.
Dead Finks Retrospective/Snark
This is a one shot. Not terrible, but not very good. I'm sorry, it's either wretched or meh. This one falls on the side of meh but there's a lot to hate. (PS: No…no actually it's just fucking awful.)
The year is 1986 and Curt has just found out that Brian Slade/Tommy Stone killed himself. Of course he cries, as well he should. He'd loved him once and probably still kind of does.
Unsurprisingly, Curt and Arthur are together and of course it's all goopy and I hate it. Arthur doesn't seem entirely sympathetic and that skeeves me out a little. He offers some bullshit psychobabble about why Brian did it and in my head I'm repeatedly punching my 17-year-old self in the face. Why the fuck not?
Curt talks about his time with Brian, and there's a scene break. Awesome. The wake is being held in Birmingham, England with Curt and Arthur in attendance. Mandy reads a rather touching eulogy, breaks down, and leaves a rose in the casket. Bizarrely, it's an open casket even though Slade killed himself by swallowing the barrel of a gun. I guess I was figuring they'd done some kind of facial reconstruction(?)
Slade's father also gives a eulogy, which is described rather than given dialogue. Curt isn't listening. Instead he's looking at the gathering of friends and family. Honestly, this could have all been lovely and touching but my knee-jerk dislike for Brian sours it (OMG HE BROKE CURT'S HEART. WAAAH! HE'S EVIL!!!!). Ugh.
There's yet another scene break and it's after the wake. Curt and Arthur are talking to Mandy. She's been doing better than last we saw her (in the movie). Because love makes everyone better (ugh), she sites the support of her girlfriend. Curt apologizes for "stealing" Brian from her and she's strangely cavalier about the whole thing. I'm not saying I think she should still be holding a grudge, but it's played off as almost a joke. "Lol. I don't blame you because you're totally hot. Of course he fell for you!" Uggggh.
There's also a rather stupid bit about Curt and Arthur getting married in Amsterdam (even though it wasn't legal until 2001, but ok) and lol, which name should they use? I just...was Internet research that hard? Certainly, the search engines of the time weren't in any way comparable to Google, but c'mon!
Right then, moving on.
There's a scene break and we're on the day they put Slade into the ground. Once more, Mandy, Curt, and Arthur are talking. This time Mandy's girlfriend Jayna has joined them. She's kind of a bitch and, despite being Japanese, is very highly disrespectful to a dead man.
Shannon, one of the movie's other interesting ancillary characters, interrupts them. She's a mess, but serves an actual meaningful purpose to the storyline. To Curt, she gives a letter as one of Slade's final requests.
Typically, it's a contrite "I will always love you" letter and Curt's all like, little late, dude. He burns it, there's some schmoopy romance, and finally it's over.
Arthur, my sweet Arthur, held me, kissed the tears off my lashes.
Ugh, off to a great start.
I broke down, I cried. Not for longing that things could've been different between Brian and I, but rather, it was tragic to see his false reality crumble into him and snuff out his life.
Awkward sentence structure is awkward, y'all.
"Right," I said firmly, "LOVED being the key word. I don't love him anymore. I love you."
For two fucking seconds can this not be about this dime store romance I've spun up around them?
"I'm not surprised," Arthur murmured. I looked at him, surprised and interested in his take of this turn of events.
"Really?" I asked, feeling myself soothed by his soft, petal-pink lips brushing my cheek and forehead.
"He," Arthur paused, I could see his journalist brain collecting what to say so as not to offend me too much, "seemed like a very shiftless man when I spoke to people. His personality, I mean. He always had to have someone to mold him. When his Tommy Stone persona was rejected by society he had to stand alone and his psyche couldn't handle it. So he took the easy way out."
Ok, first off, there's no guarantee that Arthur's little stunt after the Tommy Stone show ruined him. Anyway, Arthur never directly asked if he's Brian Slade, but what he thought of the allegations that he was somehow connected to Brian Slade. Second, there was a lot of danger to what he did that not many clue into. Brian as Stone was able to intimidate Curt into silence, and probably the paper Arthur works for since Arthur's Brian Slade piece was pulled at the last minute. If he didn't get fired, I would bet he got suspended with docked or no pay. As for the rest, it's all crap. Brian Slade wanted to be a legend. He knew exactly what he was doing every step of the way. The only time he wasn't in control was when he was in love, but his ambitions superseded the love he had for the people in his life. The only person he would have given it all up for he alienated in the end.
Also, coke's a hell of a drug.
The makeup was supposed to ease the pain of those looking upon this corpse, but it just looked like a mask. Appropriate, I guess.
If I didn't know better, I'd never know that he had a bullet hole in the back of his head the size of a silver dollar.
Ok, so I don't like gore. Though I'm tempted to look up self-inflicted gunshot wounds, my stomach is quite upset enough. It sounds like he used a rather large caliber gun, though. I really doubt the only damage would be in the back of his head. Facial reconstruction could have been done but it's not a perfected art even today.
Arthur nuzzled my neck, god, he was beautiful. What did I do to deserve him? What god did I please?
This is so out of order, I can't even. The sad thing is, I've grown to expect this kind of immaturity from these fics and that's just sad.
Shannon was a mess, crying, weeping. She had a diamond ring on her finger. Shit. She'd been engaged to that fake.
You know what? Fuck you. Even if she was cast in a vaguely villainous light in the movie, she was an incredibly sympathetic character. She deserves better than to be mocked so cruelly at the wake of her fiancé's death.
And I turned myself inward to understand how I felt, standing here, in front of the love of my life's casket. I realized he didn't matter, not when I had my soul mate huddled close against the sorrow around us.
His death was tragic. Don't get me wrong. But how do you mourn someone who never existed?
Mandy smiled. A real smile. "My girlfriend. She's a doctor. Japanese decent. Best damn thing that's ever happened to me."
Lol, I know it's a shitty joke but all I can think of is the Chinese father gag from Family Guy. "Talk to me when you doctor!"
"Mandy," I looked at her solemnly, "I'm, uh, sorry."
She sipped her saccharine tea and looked at me, "for what?"
"Stealing your husband," I replied, "look, um, it was wrong, y'know."
"Curt," looked at me with a small small smile, "you're drop-dead gorgeous. I don't blame him."
Oh my god, really? Are you shitting me right now?! There is so much wrong with that exchange I don't even know where to begin!!! All I can do is rage on the inside. I feel like kicking all the puppies in the world right now.
I smiled, Arthur and I had discussed that a couple times. We could never agree on who would take whose name, though. I wanted to take his and he wanted to take mine. Arthur Wild. That just sounded silly. Ah well, the government wouldn't actually recognize that change, so what did it matter? A couple times, too, Arthur and I had talked about getting hitched in Amsterdam but again came the names discussion.
And anyway, who would wear the wedding dress?
No one. You would both wear suits. Problem solved now kindly fuck off.
Jayna smiled sadly, "how are you? Mandy told me about your relationship with her ex."
"Oh god," I sighed, "look, honey. Don't worry about it. I'm cool. Brian hasn't meant a thing to me for years. And especially since I found Arthur."
FEELINGS DON'T JUST GO AWAY LIKE THAT. BRIAN MUST HAVE MEANT SOME FUCKING THING TO HIM BECAUSE HE WAS STILL WEARING THE PIN AS LATE AS 1984 WHEN HE FIRST RECONNECTED WITH ARTHUR!!!
(Haha, so while I was working on copy pasting the lines for this fic, the site host went down for a few seconds. It's as if it was sensing my Hulksmash rage.)
"Well, that's good," Jayna squeezed his shoulder, "that guy sounded like an asshole. I don't understand why all these people are here."
A soft voice approached us, snarling deadly, "presumptuous words from someone who never knew him."
Shannon stood before us, eyes puffy and red. She was looking like hell, her blonde hair severely pulled back, a black veil covering her beautiful face.
Haha, I agree with Shannon. That was a super bitchy thing to say and out of character for anyone of Japanese decent. Any Asian decent, really. Also, "a soft voice approached us"? Lulz.
With that, she left. I looked at the front of the envelope. In his elegant scrawl was my name. I opened it and read the letter, a brief requiem:
I LOVE YOU. I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED YOU.
A little late, Brian, I thought sadly as I took out my little lighter. I burned the white paper, feeling Arthur so near me and glad for it. Otherwise....
What? You would have acted like a normal person and mourned what might have been?
The ashes burned through my fingers and the wind swept them away. Arthur drew me into his arms and stroked my long blonde hair. I love you," he whispered. Those words, echoing the words I'd just read, rang loud in my brain.
From Arthur, they meant the world to me; From Brian they were just a memory.
You know what pisses me off about this story? The fact that it could of been a sad but lovely requiem to a fallen legend. Instead it's full of ham fisted judgements and thinly veiled character bashing.