Thursday, June 24, 2010

Music. Stuff.

I’ve always been fond of Moulin Rouge, and its brilliance in walking the line between the sublime and the ridiculous. By extension, I’ve always liked the music; but for some reason only bought the soundtrack a few weeks ago. This afternoon I found myself lying under a table, as happens frequently, disentangling cables (in skirt, pantyhose and heels mind you – dress code matters), and listening to El Tango de Roxanne. I’m sure some people hate it, I’m sure for some people it crosses the line, but it always did break my heart. I lay there for a minute, staring at the underside of the table.

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

Giving thanks

That another week has been survived, and comes, at last, to a gracious end with Logopolis - the end of its era - and a glass of champagne.

And this is exactly how I feel:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When I was seventeen

I was probably about seventeen when my friend over at Mirror Metaphysics was telling me about Kierkegaard, and the aesthetic, ethical and religious stages. It’s been a long time, forgive me if I misremember. But definitely Kierkegaard. (She was, and clearly is, that kind of girl – she read Kierkegaard and Shelley; I read Keats* and Wilde; but yes, we also listened to silly pop and discussed boys)

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 George Orwell took Oscar’s place as my point of reference, my compass, I thought – surely I am ethical now? And I left the Giant Corporation to work in non-profit. Surely I am ethical now? What’s more, I started going to Quaker meeting. Cue enlightenment?

Actually, no.

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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Because swearing is funny


Years ago I got off a plane and then I was here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

On finishing The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I had expected to cry; but lunchbreaks are not conducive to weeping. Still, it is a book I will gladly recommend; and at least in part because it makes sense, unlike some Elizabethan plays I could think of. Oh, I do, finally, love Hamlet, but took two readings, two performances and two films for it to stick, for it to be meaningful and not just tedious and incomprehensible. That is part of why that other great Hamlet-inspired work, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is so brilliant: it represents the audience’s failure to comprehend Hamlet. It is the only play I ever walk out of; because when done badly, it is the worst play in the world. But I digress – Edgar Sawtelle is not inscrutable. It is not a puzzle we seek to unravel; it is instead every bit of warmth and understanding missing from Hamlet. It is uncannily good at resolving the big puzzles at the heart of the play (at least for me!) and infusing them with meaning. It is almost too much. And it does all that with just text. No cheating and using David Tennant and Patrick Stewart (who are to plays what push-up bras are to small-breasted women), just really good writing. Kudos to Wroblenski.

On the topic of Patrick Stewart, let me just point out this one thing. You see, as pointed out here, in this very spot, I love Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart is lovely. He is also going to be at a convention this weekend in a place not very far away at all. And I was going to go. The Spouse and I were going to go. Only then a Pressing Engagement came along to take the Spouse away, and said Spouse now wants me to join him for the tail end of said Pressing Engagement. And it will be fun, and normally I would be very excited, except...well, Patrick Stewart. I am going to have to miss Patrick Stewart. This is very sad. And yes, I could probably blackmail the Spouse into letting me go but...I’m too nice. It’s a curse. So let me state this publicly to said Wedlocked partner: You owe me. No, really, you owe me, because I am also missing James Marsters. I love you, and you now know that I would gladly sacrifice my encounters with Patrick Stewart for you. You should take advantage of this opportunity to:

a) get my copy of Chicks Dig Time Lords signed when your path takes you thencewards (as it will)

b) take me to see the next play that Stewart is in at the next available opportunity (September!)

Feel free to throw in some gratuitous Sam West or James Marsters.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I am just about losing my mind. Some weeks are like that, but I was kind of hoping that those weeks were all in the previous year. Thankfully, there is always the Doctor. I have been re-watching some of the RFD stuff, Nine and Ten, and it occurs to me that I am dense, or at least that there was too much time between when I saw Nine and when I watched most of Ten. I had forgotten that Ten is kind of a jerk (and for that matter, so is Four, venerable Four), and that where it not for the splendid Mr. Tennant, he would be wholly unlikable for most of his first season (I also forgot that I kind of lost interest for a while after I first saw that, and didn’t really warm to Ten till season two. As it is, School Reunion is a lot more annoying than I remembered. I love the moment where Ten first spots Sarah Jane, where he does the whole terribly-chuffed-and-trying-not-to-show-it thing, but then it gets all romantic rivalry-centred Sarah Jane really is the only remotely adult person there. *sigh* And K-9 of course. Who doesn’t love K-9? And Rose is so much better with Nine. Speaking of Nine, and his tragically single-season-only ass, I also watched The End of the World and that, while not exactly good (very Voyage of the Damned-y somehow) is at least fun. Every time I see Nine I think “damn, if only we’d gotten to keep him for a little longer” – I guess I feel that way about Ten too, but less so. Mainly I wanted something a little less tragic for Ten, and think Moffat would have done that well. As for Eleven, well, I stopped watching the most recent episode because I was bored. This is new and shocking. Halp?

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I have been – at Sorcia’s recommendation – been reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the retelling of Hamlet with a mute boy and dogs. I don’t know that I expected anything in particular of it, other than perhaps a chance to explore Hamlet further. It surprised me. I am about two thirds of the way through this enormous audiobook, and at one point had to stop reading it because it was unbearable. Imagine Hamlet – dense, bewildering, poetic Hamlet – as an intelligible book with backstory and insight in the characters’ emotions; because for all his talk, Hamlet never really gives any clear insight into his. Imagine Ophelia as a real character that you care about, and imagine understanding why Hamlet treats her as he does. That thing, that thing that the play when performed really well gives you glimpses of, imagine that you can see all of it. You lose some of the mystery, some of the complexity, true, but the heartbreak is suddenly real, and like a pantomime audience you might find yourself shouting at the protagonist to look behind him.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


"pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others"

It's not something I usually indulge in; but there are exceptions, and I enjoy those exceptionally. Take for example people who willfully mistreat my Spouse; they can go to whatever misfortune they choose for themselves. You see, the Spouse is a nice sort of person. He thinks the best of people, often overly so. Deliberately hurting him is like kicking a puppy, and doing so repeatedly for reasons that exist only in the perpetrators hyperactive imagination is worthy of more than a little anger. And yet poetic justice does exist. You see, social convention decrees that it takes a very special kind of person to be really evil to said Spouse; and while I would gladly cut them, I won't and, most importantly, won't need to. The special kind of person it takes to kick puppies, you see, is also the special kind of person that will antagonise everyone in a world that depends on collaborations; it is the kind of person who cries wolf, then shark, then t-rex, then pterodactyl. At which point they of course get eaten by the Torchwood pterodactyl.

It's a spectacle I will gladly sit back for with a bag of popcorn.