I have really come to like The xx quite a lot. And this Tiny Desk Concert is easily one of the best instances of them. It is just the two of them, singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft and singer-bassist Oliver Sim She [No beats from member Jamie Smith, who opted to hang back at the hotel]. She sings and plays a very echoing guitar and he plays a very spare bass (also echoed). Her voice on “Angels” is whispered but not quiet—she sounds amazing. Everything about the performance is clear and beautiful
The only bad thing about the Concert is that they only play 2 songs (and for less that 7 minutes total!)
The blurb says that one of the things that makes this show especially great is that “the setting and band configuration robs them of cover. [There is] no shroud of darkness or bright lights pointed outward to blunt the crowd’s stares. Throughout their characteristically compact seven-minute performance, Croft and Sim avoid eye contact, as they visibly try to ignore the huge throng and cameras positioned maybe 10 feet away from them.”
When Oliver sings the middle verse on “Sunset” it is a wonderful, stark (and sexy) moment. When she starts playing the guitar again after the brief bass interlude, it sounds magical. And their duet at the end is amazingly powerful (especially for something so quiet).
[READ: December 17, 2016] LastMan 2
This book was originally written in French (and called Lastman there as well). These editions were translated by Alexis Siegel.
The art is black and white (and grayscale) and the characters are what I can only describe as very French looking. The faces are very minimal, with some of them looking almost bleached out but for eyes and a mouth. Some of the men are rather grotesque-looking while the one woman is a knockout. (Unlike the first book, this one is slightly more explicit–nothing actually shown, but Richard runs through the town naked and he and a woman are in bed together).
This book picks up where the previous one left off. Adrian takes on Gregorio. And Adrian is able to knock him out of the ring. Adrian wins! This means he must now fight Elorna, his friend. Gregorio is humiliated at losing and he is rather mean to Elorna. And during the match, Elorna bursts into tears and flees the ring, forfeiting and letting Adrian and Richard go to the semifinals.
They are up against Alyssa and Haldes (Haldes is preposterously large and Alyssa is covered by a scarf on her face). Things get weird in this one when Alyssa recognizes Richard (I won’t say from where). I’m not exactly sure what happens to her, but she is eventually dragged out of the ring by Haldes–more or less forfeiting as well.
So our heroes are going to the final.
But first, a feast at the king and queen’s palace. Richard’s bag (which he never loses sight of) has been stolen and he believes it was someone in the palace who did it. So the party is rather awkward. Adrian wanders into the kitchen and the chef there gives him a flower and promises that “the spirits of the seven elements will be with you wherever you go.” This makes Adrian feel invincible. And that’s when he sees Richard an his mom together on a bed (in the palace!).
Adrian wants to go first in the battle. He summons all of his powers and casts very impressive spell–but it doesn’t work (for a slightly amusing reason). And he is thrown out. Despite his loss, the crowd gives him a standing ovation for being so young and making it so far. And now it is up to Richard to battle the masked champion, Cristo.
I had assumed that the book would cover the fight and that maybe the fight wouldn’t even end before the end of the book. But the series has other things planned.
First, a man arrives with Richard’s picture asking around if anyone has seen him.
He doesn’t find Richard; but shortly after the fight and Richard is nowhere to be found.
There is a lot of explaining to do. And Adrian’s mom reveals that she has a motorcycle in the garage. Adrian doesn’t know what it is, and I’m unclear if anyone else would know what it is, either. But she and Adrian set off into “the breath of the Iguana Queen,” whatever that is.
Have to wait until book 3 to find out.