Sunday, December 19, 2010
In other news, long walks are good, weather that is not trying to kill one is good, and, needless to say, coffee is good.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Also, I am old. I was just looking for a good picture of Shahrukh Khan in sequins* – surprisingly hard to find, given how many shiny, spangly costumes he wears – and happened across some fairly revealing shots. I made a little noise, covered my eyes, and thought, ah, my, that is quite indecent**.
*You're welcome. You now also have Deepika Padukone in a princess Leia bra
**And, frankly, a little gay, even with the women.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
I briefly interrupt my regularly scheduled Bollywood to listen to The Great Gatsby, a book I read years ago and don’t remember at all, and which I took up again to prepare to a lecture that was, in fact, about Tender is the Night. Go figure. Mostly, I feel the same as I did when I first read the book – it defies me, like On the Road. I don’t get it. It faintly bores me. And yet...I read the end four times, the very end...
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we wi
ll run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——-
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
All by itself, that is some of the most beautiful and sad prose known to man.
By the way, Beirut’s The Flying Club Cup must be the perfect accompaniment: “a Sunday smile...we wore it for a while...”.
I may now go read that book about insanity and death.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Time to bring out the old penguin trick:
Ramón: [standing ontop of a cliff, trying to get ready to jump off]
Ramón: I can do this, I can do this... I have to trick myself.
[points at something behind him]
Ramón: Boy, look at that!
[looks at where he's pointing]
[falls off the cliff]
Thank you, Happy Feet.
That said, I still love my only-mediumly-famous famous people; my days of standing in the rain for six hours for anyone (hello there Greg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs – not even that famous; or that attractive*) are most definitely at an end. Besides, the mediumly famous are usually nicer; and these days niceness in the face of fame seems so much more impressive to me than glamour**.
*Not to knock Greg Dulli, but he ain’t no (pre-cheese-farm-wedded-bliss) Alex James
**If I want glamour, there’s always Shah Rukh Khan’s filmography. Singing! Dancing! Political overtones! Why is it that Bollywood is so inherently more glamourous than anything else? It has an unabashed love of the kitschy-yet -pretty, the hackneyed-yet-charming that I find especially appealing just at the moment.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Backstory: a few weeks ago, I wrapped up a crazy week by going to a Bollywood party some friends had invited me to. I had a great time, but spent far too much time being glued to the miscellaneous screens, trying to follow the movie. Upon investigation, it turned out to be Om Shanti Om, I netflixed it, and my, what a romp.
Happy TDEC: *swinging happily to the freshly purchased soundtrack*
Reflective TDEC: It’s annoying that I can’t sing along. And that I have no idea of the background of any of this.
HTDEC: Mmm, sure, but think of the fun! The outrageous costumes! The dancing! The men whose masculinity is not diminished by shiny outfits and ruffles
RTDEC: Ok, sure, but what if some Indian person caught me listening to this. I’d look like a tool
HTDEC: RTDEC, who cares? Besides, what are you planning to do? Drive by Indian shops blasting Deewangi Deewangi?
RTDEC: I'd look stupid, wouldn’t I? Like a wannabe?
HTDEC: It’s a song, woman, not a statement
RTDEC: Can’t it be both?
HTDEC: You are being just like when we were fifteen and on vacation in the UK and you refused to speak English for fear of sounding foreign
RTDEC: I am self-conscious now
HTDEC: Will you just SHUT UP already? I am trying to enjoy the song. Look at the screen. The guy is wearing a pirate costume for no reason at all. Can’t you just be grateful?
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Only Sunshine is really convincing me just at the moment, because it has vampires and cinnamon buns, and how can you go wrong with that? Being Human just kind of disappoints me, mainly because the vampire sort of looks like Aidan Gillen but isn't actually him. How very superficial of me, I know, but for now I have put my serious death and suffering (Under the Banner of Heaven) aside for some light death. The Eyre Affair certainly has plenty of that, vampires or not - and yes, I just remembered, it does actually have both werewolves and vampires, though not a lot of either. I swear I am not doing this on purpose. Well, it does make me forget about the Democrats for a while, and that must be good. The time travel/werewolf/vampire thing will distract you. You know what this evening needs? It needs a unizombie. I mean a zombie/unicorn hybrid, you know, undead, shiny, good hair.
Fuck, it's Edward Cullen, isn't it?
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Sigh. What morans. For a moment there, they had a message. And then then they got distracted by a shiny thing.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I'm with Mitch Benn on this. Did I mention Doctor Who?
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Have a lovely evening.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Like read the New York Times, and Jon Krakauer books. Makes for good conversation. Making good conversation is important in life.
As in: raising one eyebrow. Fascinating...
As in: euphemism for you've bored me now I'm too polite to say something about it, to complain that I don't want to see any more pictures.
As in: no, really, it is interesting. I am interested.
I am mostly interested in tea, sleep and books this evening, and therefore of interest only to myself this evening. Have a lovely one, my friends. I am too incoherent to do more today.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
“One stomach flu away from my golden weight”
In the words of The Devil Wears Prada. It’s what I keep thinking, because people keep telling me that I’ve lost weight. They mean it as a compliment, so I try to be gracious, not one of my skills at the best of times. My feeble efforts are considerably preferable to saying what is in my head, which is approximately the following: yes, it’s my steady diet of misery, caffeine, stress and chocolate. Right now I’m nauseous and I’ve slept about four hours, and today is a pretty good day, because at least I didn’t lie awake because of anxiety.
It’s all both true and not true. On Friday I saw a debate on zombies versus unicorns, Saturday I bought books and barley tea with a friend, and Sunday was all about crepes and more books. How bad can things really be?
I’m listening to Beirut, and this music really does sound like Beirut Unvisited, like eastern Europe in the sixties, like memories of French beaches.
So much to be grateful for. So much to be haunted by. So perhaps this is the perfect song.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
But seriously, time to sit in the park, reading And Tango Makes Three. The world needs more penguins.
However you do it, celebrate your right to read whatever you bloody well like.
Monday, September 20, 2010
“It is the moment when our resolution seems about to become irrevocable—when the fatal iron gates are about to close upon us—that tests our strength. Then, after hours of clear reasoning and firm conviction, we snatch at any sophistry that will nullify our long struggles, and bring us the defeat that we love better than victory.”
Oh George Eliot and her infallible understanding of human frailty. Apt, too, the speaker: I first heard the quote from a hamster of a man, my first English professor, a truly engaging teacher who was later quietly removed for indiscretions with a student.
Anyway, that is The Mill on the Floss.
Perhaps more cheerily, this gloomy day (in my head - it was a glorious autumn day in the outside world) reminded me of Shelley -
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"
It seems especially pertinent today. Potent? Pungent? Portentous perhaps...
Friday, September 17, 2010
I may need to buy some cider this weekend, and plan a camping trip (not actually take one - I'm working tomorrow afternoon. Bleh.)
But first Friday, and the annual budget. The crazy thing? I actually kind of like doing the budget.
Have a good Friday!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
But Dickens now; I made a point of not visiting his birth house. I don't believe much in birthplaces, which are usually the crummy towns that motivate people to get the hell out. One could easily see Portsmouth that way, though I am very fond of it. It is not a highbrow place, and wouldn't have been in Dickens' time. Mostly, however, I just didn't care much for Dickens, the most commonplace of Victorian writers when I always loved obscurity & decadence. Oddly enough, that never stopped me from reading his books - I read The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations, enjoyed the latter quite a bit, but stopped there. A few weeks ago, a colleague of good judgment and taste recommended the most recent production of Bleak House, the 2005 mini-series. I watched it all in one go before leaving for the heimat two week ago. It is quite spectacular, and I am wondering if I need to revisit Dickens. Wondering whether, after all the Nice Soothing books I've been reading, I should revisit Dickens' murky world. He has such great characters, and a sort of gentleness in subjecting them to misfortunes that almost reminds me of early Tennessee Williams. Peculiar. Perhaps adulthood is making me unafraid of conventional, and almost unfashionable, reading...
Saturday, August 28, 2010
This is about all I have had room for:
Oh, and Shakespeare in the park, apparently. Hm. Picnic.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I just bought Philip Pullman's The Shadow in the North. Why? Maybe it was just Billie Piper being on the cover.
And yet instead of reading I am watching Perfect Strangers. Eighties comedy, stereotypes, and pink shirts.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Hamlet. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about Hamlet, and what with Emilie Autumn and my renewed crush on Ten, hence also somewhat on David Tennant, I find myself contemplating the sweat prince (ah, obscure In the Bleak Midwinter references!) once more. Why Emilie Autumn? Well, because of Opheliac, song and album, which could with more justice be called Hamletiac, though I admit it doesn’t sound nearly as good.
“Doubt thou the stars are fire
Doubt thou the sun doth move
Doubt truth to be a liar
But never doubt I love”
she sings. Confessions of love from a mad prince are about right. I’ll need to rewatch it this weekend (right, TDEC, what you need at this critical and difficult juncture in your life is 500-year-old death and suffering, as re-enacted by Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. Just the thing, actually.) I wish I could watch Cambridge Spies:
Queen: "Never trust a man with a bad moustache. Homosexualists never have moustaches... Have you noticed? I think it's a signal... To other chaps... 'Look! No moustache! Come and get me!' Ponces and spies, Anthony. The people with the most to hide never have moustaches. So which are you, Anthony? Ponce or spy?"
Anthony Blunt: "Oh... A little of both... Aren't we all?"
There, just the thought of it makes me happy. And it would make for a perfect day-long escape into the world of lovely British drama. You know, I kind of resent my fetish for Tennant. Sam West is lovely, and kind of obscure, especially out here, and he loves poetry and cross-stitching and fencing and theatre. He wears hats. He’s lovely. But David Tennant? David Tennant is just some Scottish bloke. I would love to blame it all on my love of the Tenth Doctor, but I love him in a bunch of other things too, he wins me over every time, but I still resent it. I hate it when I get lured into a mainstream filmstar crush, and he’s as mainstream as you get in Britain. And for all my long-standing affection of all things Scottish, I don’t like his Scottish accent, and find it jarring; I find his real self jarring*. It’s the kind of thing I wish I could talk myself out of. Only then, when I’m not looking, I will find myself watching Human Nature again and...
Notice how I used my Misery Cloud as an excuse to go on pointless tangent about David Tennant and Sam West and the general atrophying of my brain?
I am pathetic, yet happy.
Monday, August 09, 2010
(Maybe also that cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor)
So my dear and unfortunate reader, may your week bring, at least, a few hours of Robot Unicorn Attack and some silly eighties sitcom. Perfect Strangers? It'll do.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I’ll do this like This American Life, in three acts.
Change – plus ça change?
In French they say that the more it changes, the more it stays the same. Like most clichés, it is both true and false. I am the same person I was when I was twelve, essentially – silly, game for most things, obsessed with books and loveliness. These days I find that I am also different. The best way I can think to express it is that my hands are hard to relax. It becomes harder to let go – harder to be generous, open, honest, emotionally free. Circumstances teach secrecy and parsimony, and I resentfully learn.
Change – unlearning
Changing is like getting chicken pox – a real bitch once you’re grown up. And yet here you are with your nose to the wall, and clearly you didn’t get where you wanted to be, and suddenly change doesn’t mean moving again (oh the lovely drug of geography), it means sitting down and talking to yourself sternly. Like science, it’s often counter-intuitive, and you think of Elvis Costello again
“The truth can’t hurt you
It’s just like the dark
It scares you witless
But in time you see things clear and stark.”
Change – bumper stickers
I saw one the other day that said “CHANGE – all you’ll have left when Obama’s done.”
Which was funnier than conservatives usually are. I won’t blame Barry, because these days his sonorous audiobooked voice helps me sleep, but I sympathise with the sentiment – too much change will bankrupt the hell out of the best of us.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
As, this afternoon, I was trying to dispel one of those Eeyore personalised clouds, I got some tea. It was Lipton Decaffeinated, the only available option. When Douglas Adams wrote “almost, but not quite entirely, unlike tea”, decaf Lipton is probably what he had in mind. Foul, but ever so slightly better than no tea at all.
The other thing I think of is George Orwell’s eleven rules for making tea, and also of these buttons, which are a WIN. Actually, check out their Etsy store if you’re into Doctor Who, Firefly or the Hitchhiker’s Guide, they make great buttons and are very prompt and friendly.
Speaking of which, I love how tea is infused with obscure and near-magical properties in Doctor Who. (That’s my DW comment of the day. I had to make one.)
Such are small consolations. The other, by the way, is Billy Bragg – I was listening to him this afternoon, and as he sang
“One of them's off her food
And the other one's off his head
And both of them are off down the boozer”*
I laughed out loud.
Oh Billy, if I were single, and if you weren’t twenty years older with a wife and kid, I would throw my knickers at you.
*From Little Time Bomb. Mostly funny to me, and not nearly the funniest/best of Billy’s lyrics. My favourite, actually, is probably “if that face of yours could only talk, the stories it could tell” from Life With The Lions
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Don’t be fooled, this is a Doctor Who post. With spoilers. There’s also some other stuff. With Jeremy Irons.
I was just thinking about Amy post Rory’s death, how she shows the grief she’s forgotten in her body. Though I don’t care much for her character, I find that both apt and affecting. We do keep all sorts of things in our bodies that our minds can’t handle. I have, on occasion, found myself crying at things I didn’t understand until much later. Maybe that’s just because I am getting to be such a sentimental one; but I find it oddly relieving to watch sad Doctor Who when I’ve had a bad day – something to have the emotions about in an impersonal, not about me sort of way.
Yesterday I watched the Jeremy Irons version of Lolita. Its arrival was badly timed, but I watched it anyway. The movie as a whole is inferior to the James Mason/Stanley Kubrick movie, I think, and a little too beguiling for my moral sensibilities – the first view of Lolita is just too much, the wet t-shirt thing... That said, Jeremy Irons lives up to the glory of his audiobook reading, with perfect pitch, humiliation, and warped grace. The smugness is a little absent, but I can’t say I mind. It’s a lovely portrayal, and as ever, the story is almost unbearable, both in its narrative and in its lyricism.
She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
And my body hurts.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
It reminds me of Iris, which no, I won’t actually play that, that would be overkill. You bleed just to know you’re alive. No, instead I’ll follow the soundtrack to the sweet, quiet song – which by the way captures the era beautifully – Rufus Wainwright’s Complainte de la butte.
“princesse de la rue/sois la bienvenue/dans mon coeur brisé”
And I should be good and translate that, but frankly I’m out of poetic sentiment just at the mo.
Moulin Rouge feels just about right today. If only real life distress had such good costumes. Which in turn reminds me of Emilie Autumn’s rather amusing Marry Me.
Too many musical references, I know, but it’s all I’ve got today (yes we have no bananas).
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So she was relating his idea of the progression through the stages. It’s funny how these things sometimes stick in one’s mind. Years and years later I have not read a letter of his writings – philosophy and I, we are not friends – but every once in a while I wonder what sphere I am in. Clearly then I was all aestheticism, what with the knee breeches and pictures of a young Alfred Douglas. Later, when
I sat in meetings feeling calm, and happy, but unenlightened. And then I got distracted by shiny things. So I stand on the sidelines, observing ethical organisations, giving time and even a little money, and abstractly admiring the only religious group I have considered joining. You know what I think of when I think of conversion? I think of Alfred Douglas’ City of the Soul. I love the Quakers and my favourite non-profit for the same reason – for being consistent, coherent, and true to their principles. How beautiful the simplicity.
*on a green hill in the English countryside. Really. In a 1920’s small bound edition.