June 20th, 2010


tour life?

I'm writing a story that's more or less based around a concert tour. The musician is generally popular, but not as big as the Jonas Brothers/Justin Bieber (he's not really Disney, but those were the only two I could think of). The setting starts in modern day Los Angeles, but branches out to popular cities from there.

So my question is: what's tour life like? I've googled "how tours work", "tour life", "concert tour life", etc., but the most I've gotten was this and ticket sales. If you could tell me the format of the tour buses, that would be lovely too!

I just really want to separate truth from fiction, because obviously it's not as it's thought to be.
Ephram boy

Marine Stateside

I'm new here and looked back through a bunch of posts but didn't see anything on this.

I have NO IDEA if this is a stupid question (probably!), but I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what a marine might have access to when he's back stateside. What kind of gear might he bring home, fatigues, etc.



Royal Ballet School Lower School Uniform, 1960's

Hi! I have a character who is a student at the Royal Ballet School (England) in the 1960's. She's eleven, it's her first year. I am looking for information on what colors her uniform - both for dance and academic classes - would have been.

Most of my searches have been variations on "royal ballet school uniform," "royal ballet school colors," "royal ballet school 1960's." I found some helpful images (under the cut), but the ones from the sixties are in black and white.

I know that the uniform changed recently - in the late 1990's the school uniform was grey skirts, white shirts, and red cardigans, but the current uniform is dark blue. I'm not sure how long the red/white/grey combo was around. I also would like to find out what color the summer uniform - under the cut - would have been.

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And then there's the dance uniform. I found a picture showing what they likely looked like, but again, it's black and white. The current color for first-year girls is I believe pink, but I am not sure if this would be the same color for the "dancing tunics" of fifty years ago. (I randomly know that the accessories - belt, headband, shoes - were pink, and the socks white, which was mentioned in Lynn Seymour's biography.) The picture of the tunics is below this cut.

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I'm considering e-mailing the museum at the Royal Ballet School to ask, but past experience has shown such inquiries tend not to get answered. If anyone has a suggestion on what might get me a response, I'd really love the help!

Thank you!

bipolar meds for teens

Question: I need to find a suitable medicine for a bipolar teenager. 
Googled: Bipolar meds for teens, best bipolar meds for teens, bipolar II disorder, abilify in teenagers

I have a 16-year-old male character who was misdiagnosed with bipolar II disorder just under two years before the events of the story. He knows he is not bipolar (long story, not crucial to this question), and flushes all of his medicine down the toilet. But I'm about to write a chapter centered around his mother, and I'm having trouble choosing a medicine. 

At first I had him on Abilify, but I was researching it today and found a lot of bad reviews and stories about the drug, and decided to look for a new one. I don't know where to start, though. I can't find any specific names when I Google it, just information about medication in general. Does anyone know of a good one that might be prescribed to a 16-year-old boy? 

The story takes place in present-day Upstate New York. The character sees a pediatric psychiatrist - a boring, old-fashioned woman in her late 50s. What has been diagnosed as bipolar disorder is actually sort of split personalities (he's sharing his brain with his dead sister - hard to explain), so to his family and doctors he goes through fits of rage, fits of depression where he can't get out of bed, and on several occasions his sister will take over his body and cause trouble - once she makes him throw Dr. Pepper on a girl at school. His doctor sees him as violent and is determined that he is suicidal. 

I hope that's enough information. 
  • eelpot

Musicians/athletes defecting

Musicians/athletes travelling from a dictatorship (e.g. North Korea, Belarus, the Sovjet Union) to a free country are often kept company by "handlers" of different kinds, who are responsible for stopping them from defecting.

What are these called in English?
What are their official job descriptions?
What do they do besides trying to make sure the musicians/athletes don't defect?

I have tried to google different combinations of North Korea/Soviet/Belarus, musicians/athletes, defecting and handlers/caretakers, but I can't seem to find anything useful. If anyone either has a good search phrase or know of a biography describing someone who managed to defect during a visit to "the free world", that would be very helpful! I am writing about a made up dictatorship, and feel I know too little about this, especially since I am planning on having one of my characters defect.

ETA: A very big thank you to everyone who answered, you have been of immense help! I thought I just might add what I have found using the information I got in this post, in case someone else needs this information. :

The dictatorships (North Korea and USSR) used words like "assigned travel companion" and "wet nurse" (mamka) to describe the handlers. I haven't found a more polite English word for them.

General information about how anyone defected was hard to find, mostly the defectee refused to tell about their escape to protect the people who had helped them escape. I did find several lists over known defectors (wikipedia, Vladislav Krasnov's book, Russian History Encyclopedia).

I also found two documentaries about Nureyev, one seemingly focusing mostly on his ballet carrier called "Rudolf Nureyev-A Documentary" and one more focused on his defection called "Nureyev: The Russian Years" (link to the latter). I have yet to find them as downloads or copies I can purchase, but maybe someone else is more lucky. This article was also interesting to me, even if it was more about why he felt he had to defect than how he defected.

This video is the first interview Mikhail Baryshnikov held after he defected in '74, and this is an interview he held in '85 about his defection as well as the film White Nights, which might be relevant (I'll know when I've seen it :P).

Last, but not least, I found this article about Anatoly Kuznetsov, an USSR writer who defected in London.


I am looking for what type of flowers would be in a garden in a park. The setting is southern California and it takes place 2008. What would be some good terms to search with. I have tried what flowers grow in California, California plants, and Southern California flowers.
time, to, huma, Being, george

Ways to loose voice permanently

My character looses her voice. She becomes under the impression that she has laryngitis, and since her family is rather poor, she just asks one of her friends who recently had laryngitis how to get rid of it. The trick her friend gives her is to drink this tea with herbs [that I'm currently studying] and take a vow of silence. The thing is that it doesn't work and the character looses her voice forever.

The year is 2010, and the character is about 16. She lives in a small town and goes to a school in Ohio. She is rather promiscuous, and bicurious for her best friend, who also likes her. She enjoys singing, if it matters at all. She does drink occasionally.

I've searched for ways for someone to loose their voice on several sites, but all of them give me answers on how to loose it temporarily or pretend to loose it. It is possible for her to loose it due to attack, because the character is proud enough just to ignore it. But I do want the cause to be something other than laryngitis.

Please post if you want any more details.

[p.s. Yeah, for any gleeks, I am describing Santana.]

Victorian authors--paid by the word?

I've often seen it claimed that Victorian authors like Dickens wrote ornate, wordy prose because they were paid by the word, so they had a financial incentive to be needlessly prolix and pad their narratives. Can anyone point me to an authoritative, scholarly source (i.e., not a site giving advice to writers) for this?

It seems to be one of those things that "everyone knows," so no one bothers to cite a source for them--like "the phrase 'rule of thumb' refers to the thickness of the stick with which a man was allowed to beat his wife" or "'Crap' comes from Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the flush toilet"--and it has the same ring as these origin stories (both bogus, as far as I know).

Searches I've tried: "Victorian prose style," "Dickens's prose style," "Influences on Victorian prose style," "influences on Dickens's style," and "Dickens paid by the word." I also checked Peter Ackroyd's biography of Dickens, with no luck.