The Hangman’s Daughter-Chapter 11


She ran through the rain, her face and arms aching from the sky’s lashing. Once her foot disappeared into a quagmire, and she sank three feet, screaming and scrabbling for solid ground. She pulled herself out again and half ran half staggered back to the cottage to where Doctor Toureil sat in the doorway, his face buried in his hands.
He looked up at her approach, and there were tears in his eyes. Great, kind tears.
For a second they simply stared at each other, the old weeping man and the tiny girl, caked in mud, her red hair plastered black to her face, her green eyes stained bloodshot red.
The Doctor simply shook his head.



We who are about to blog salute you…

A very big and heartfelt thank you to everyone who nominated me for the Blog Awards Ireland 2014. I’m delighted to report that Unshaved Mouse has made the long list for Best Humour Blog and Best Art & Culture Blog. This means three things;

1) As people now think this is an Art and Culture Blog, we need to class up this joint. No more cussin’ in the comments section and you all need to start spittin’ in the spittoon like I asked ye.

And not ON the spitoon. IN the spitoon.

And not ON the spittoon. IN the spittoon.

2) As with last year, all nominated blogs are eligible for the Best Blog Post award, which is decided by popular vote. In the coming weeks I’ll be asking you all to vote for me whenever you can which of course means…

3) Weekly updates. Not weekly reviews unfortunately (guys, I’m only flesh and blood) but I do have some articles lined up to go in between the regular reviews. And of course, The Hangman’s Daughter will now be going up a chapter a week, starting tonight.

Thanks a million guys, you’re amazing.

Mouse out.


Missing chapter of the Hangman’s Daughter (which will now be weekly)

Aaaaaaaaargh and so on.

So it seems I’ve made a bit of a clanger. For the last few months I’ve been updating the blog fortnightly with chapters from my novel The Hangman’s Daughter which many of you have been very kindly reading and critiquing. It was pointed out to me, however, that I’ve actually been updating with excerpts from my original draft, not the newer one. This is not really a big deal as both drafts start out pretty much identical but there is a fairly substantial chunk in Chapter 5  that acts as the first bit of foreshadowing of the book’s main villain that I left out. I’ve put it back in now (it’s everything after “silent acrimony”) so if you want to go and read that you should be up to speed. Also, it’s been pointed out to me that my habit of posting short chapters that typically end in cliff-hangers once every two weeks is the kind  of thing that gets you dragged before the Hague (and also would have us finishing the first book sometime in mid-2016) so I’ve decided from now on there’s going to be a new chapter every week, updating on Saturdays.

Oh, and if you wanna get caught up? Got your back, bro.











Single White Rodent seeks Video Editor for Internet Adventures (and maybe more…)

Hello peoples of the net!

Erik’s audio reviews for Melody Time and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad are now up, so be sure to give them a listen. To anyone who’s recently followed the blog, Erik Copper has been doing audio versions of my Disney reviews. We’re now getting to the point where the blog stopped being “movie reviews” and became more me deciding that I didn’t need no goddam anti-psychotic medication and we’ve started to realise that a lot of the comedy from this period kind of needs a visual element (Erik’s fantastic vocal skills notwithstanding). Now, we used to have a guy who did video versions of Erik’s audio versions of my text reviews (keep up damn it) but he betrayed us and turned to evil he unfortunately had to give it up for study commitments. So we’re now looking for someone with editing skills to adapt the reviews into a video form. Now before you say “no”, let me assure you: Yes, the work is hard. But on the other hand, there is no money.

However, if you’re someone who’s wants to hone their editing skills before an enthusiastic and always growing audience (cough cough freshly pressed cough cough)…eh, you could do worse. Here’s a link to Mauricio’s videos to give you an idea of what’s gone before and if you think it’s something you’d enjoy send me an email at and we’ll take it from there.

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 10


She lay there in the mud for a few minutes, not quite sure if she had gone mad. After all, she had seen some incredible things when she had had the fever. But the figure in front of her was real. She was seeing it before her eyes, not in her head. Slowly, she clambered to her feet, rivers of muddy water running off her now thoroughly soiled white night-dress. She took five steps, and stood at the right hand side of the figure. From where she was, she could just about see the tip of an elegant chin, the end of a nose, but everything else hidden by the folds of the hood.
“Hello.” said Marie quietly.
The figure started, and Marie realised that she had taken him by surprise. If this person was what she thought he was, then how was that possible?



Disney Reviews the Unshaved Mouse #49: The Princess and the Frog

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

God I hate when this happens.
See, here’s the thing. I already knew what I was going to say about Princess and the Frog months ago. I had my arguments prepared, I’d done my research, the only thing remaining to do was to sit down and watch it again before actually writing the review. And then, of course, my opinion of the movie changed pretty substantially and now I’m back to square one. Alright, a lot of you have been asking me my opinion on the Princess and the Frog, and until very, very recently it was this:
Don’t like it. Hugely disappointing. Major flaws. Disney screwed the pooch. To get traditional animation back in contention they needed a perfect ten and we got a five. Mouse not happy.
But then…yeah, I watched it again and it’s safe to say that my opinion has mellowed quite a bit. Not totally. The problems I thought were there are still there. What problems you ask? Three are the problems, and the number of the problems is three.
  1. Tiana
You know, given Disney’s sterling record of diversity it’s kind of amazing that it’s taken this long for us to have an African American princess.
"Ha! Good one!"

“Ha! Good one!”

I’m actually not being sarcastic. Think about it, since Little Mermaid in 1987, of the seventeen canon movies featuring humans we’ve had Arab protaganoists, Asian protagonists, Native American protagonists, gypsy protagonists, Hawaiian protagonists, Mayan protagonists and even that most reviled and loathed of all minorities…

The French.

So, why has it taken them this long? Well, seeing as you’re on the internet you probably aren’t aware of this, but race can be something of a sticky wicket. By which I mean, Disney knew that if they fucked up on this they would be eaten alive so it’s probably not surprising that they took this one nice and slow. And, in my opinion at least, they succeeded. There is nothing problematic about the character of Tiana. She is as positive and progressive a depiction of an African American woman as you could hope to find. On a possibly not unrelated note, she is also really, really, really, really, really boring. Who do I blame for that? The writers? The animators? Voice actor Anika Noni Rose? No. At the risk of being unpopular, I place the blame solely on…
Yes you, people on the internet.
This movie came under an insane amount of scrutiny long, long, before it was even released, with Disney making many changes in response to every new backlash and charge of racism. Now, some of the criticism may have been fair, but honestly some of it just strikes me as petty. For example, the heroine’s name was originally “Maddy” which was changed to Tiana because “Maddy” rhymes with “Mammy”. So, yeah, I know right? Wasn’t that a bullet narrowly dodged? Now I, for one, was unaware that names that happen coincidentally to rhyme with racist slurs are racist by association but I’ll certainly keep that in mind in fut…OH MY GOD!!!


So, it’s understandable that the script for this thing feels like it was written by someone walking on eggshells. And yes, obviously writers have to treat the issue of race carefully and with sensitivity, but I think a certain degree of good faith is required on behalf of the audience as well. It’s just the problem with living in a world where any blowhard can get on his virtual soap box and complain about a movie that hasn’t even been released yet and why are you all looking at me like that? But there is another problem with Tiana that goes beyond all of that. Alright, the simplest, most basic story you can tell goes like this. Character A (the protagonist), wants something, and we want to see him get that thing. Character B (the antagonist) wants something that is mutually exclusive to what character A wants, and we don’t want to see him get that. The characters struggle against each other, and from this we get conflict, drama and finally resolution. Now, you can alter and flip and rearrange and deconstruct or just flat out ignore this model in literally an infinite number of different ways but most of the time that’s what it boils down to. The central conflict is the heart of the story. And Tiana exists almost entirely outside the central conflict. She’s essentially an onlooker in her own story. The conflict is between Naveen and Facilier. You could conceivably have a movie just about those two. What is the relationship between Tiana and Facilier? What’s the personal stake? As the old lady once said, where’s the beef?
  1. The Script
Not bad, but really needed to be funnier. And from Clements and Musker we had a right to expect better.
  1. Randy Goddamn Newman
Fine in small doses, don’t get me wrong. But to write a musical you need versatility almost as much as you need raw songwriting talent. Your songs need to be versatile enough to convey an entire emotional spectrum and Newman just can’t do that. There’s an unmistakeable saminess to his songs that make them less emotional beats in the story set to music, and more mere musical intervals (with the exception of Friends on the Other Side, which is awesome.) This is the single biggest problem with the movie in my opinion. There’s enough good in the rest of the movie that a Howard Ashman or Sherman Brothers or Kristen Anderson Lopez could have lifted this up to the realm of the all-time greats.
Well okay, enough about what they got wrong. Let’s take a look at what they got right.


The Hangman’s Daughter: Chapter 9

                                                                                                      CHAPTER 9: ANGEL IN THE RAIN

The front door was bashed open with a thunder clap, and Marie shot upright in bed.
From behind her bedroom door she could hear raised voices, something heavy being carried, grunts and curses, and she felt a stab of ice in her as she thought the cottage was being robbed. Then, her door swung open and she screamed as the grizzled face of Sylvie’s father, the blacksmith D’Arbe, shot into her room like a jack from a box.
She screamed and he shouted in fright before realising who she was. Then he muttered to himself “Wrong room…” and was gone as suddenly as he had entered, leaving the door to slowly close of its own inertia.
But right before it closed, Marie could see through the rapidly shrinking opening a mob of townsmen carrying her father into his bedroom, behind the, Toureil barking orders “Lay him down on the bed! Careful! Careful you asses! He’s not a sack of potatoes!” And she had just enough time to see her father’s face, white as marble save for the hideous red scar running down his nose and his blue eyes lolling sightlessly, and although she did not actually hear herself, she screamed at the sight of him. And then, with malicious relish, the door clicked shut, cutting her off from the kitchen, and leaving her in the darkness again.