Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Whole Lot of Stuff Plus Some Bond

You can't see this but I'm typing onto a new monitor which is flat and doesn't resemble a space station. Thing is, it's freed up so much room on my desk and is consequently so far away from my face that I'm having to look at it through binoculars. Sigh.

Well this is the classic 'It's The End Of The Year And There Are Multiple Deadlines Looming But Instead Of Meeting Them I'm Procrastinating ... Well, Yeah, Procrastinating' post. Ah, good times. I've now been useless for about a week and a half, although it feels longer. And hey, it IS the end of 2012, so how's everyone dealing with all the crazies in their life who believe that come the new year, the four horses of the apocalypse are gonna charge around earth lassoing us all up like cattle? Also, on a hopefully unrelated note, anyone's atheist father just decided that evolution no longer cuts the mustard as a scientific theory? No? Just mine? Okay, then.

So since I last posted here 2 months ago, a lot has changed here on Walton Mountain, but my habit of starting every new paragraph with either 'Well' or 'So' is still going strong. Let's see,

  • I turned 20, and felt it. Like, my teen years are officially behind me. I will never again get the chance to sneak into an 18 or use a fake ID or be featured on Underage & Pregnant. Unless I'm the kid's mother, of course, cause I'm now in that decade where you have to start thinking about careers and houses and bills and... urgh... contributing to the species *shudder*. You know what was really nasty? Around the same time I had to renew my passport and you know when it's going to expire? The day before I turn 30. THIRTY!!!! i.e., the day my life stops.
  • I passed my theory test first time phew, which means I'm now an official theoretical driver, which I reckon in turn means I could take on the Matrix. Please place your bets.
  • Uni is HARD. For the first few weeks coming out of the zombiefication of summer this was a good thing, but fast forward to week 9 or something and I'm just slacking along cause I've become a slacker. It's Lit Theory that's doing it. I love Victorian Lit and even though I haven't exactly kept up with my reading (hey, Victorian novels are long! It's like a fact and everything!) I feel confident enough in it. Maybe that's just in contrast to Lit Theory, cause man, I'm struggling to remember why I picked the damn course in the first place. I know it had something to do with psychoanalysis and feminism, but after a while you just get sick of everything being compared to the loss of the phallus and angry lesbians ranting about how much they hate men and trying to justify it. And then there's all the isms. Post-colonialism, deconstructionism, new historicism (is an oxymoron), pretentious pointlessism. The thing is, I wish someone had warned me that it's basically the same course they have in the Philosophy department called 'Philosophy of English' except apparently this is less 'esoteric' (dumbdumbdumb). I think on some level I knew this and that's why I picked it, despite the fact I have proven I am pish at the theoretical side of philosophy that involves Descartes and scholars arguing back and forth about God knows what in horribly constructed sentences with words like 'subjectivated' shoved in. There's a part of me that's really interested in philosophy and discussing concepts, but then there's another part that just finds it really frustrating because all it does is go around in circles talking about shit and never actually gets to the bottom of anything. RAAAAA. When I'm in a Lit Theory tutorial I have to periodically look down to remind myself I am on a chair and not in fact floating ten feet above the ground, because it totally feels like we start off tethered to the floor and gradually levitate and drift up toward the ceiling while smoking colourful carcinogenic substances from a hookah and waiting for the enlightening transformation. Except I'm Alice, and everyone else is a caterpillar. Well, except the two girls I was lucky enough to sit next to in the first tutorial and subsequently got grouped with for the rest of the semester. They're great and NORMAL and we all don't get the week's reading together which is hilarious on no breakfast. Alice & the Caterpillars sounds like a good band name too.



  • Life has been weirdly framed by fairy-tales lately. It started with me renting and then buying The Company of Wolves, and then devouring the source material, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, this gorgeously sumptuous delicious anthology of fairy-tales and legends with a twist (kind of like Coke with lemon). You know when a book or a film or a piece of music just seems to describe a piece of your soul or something? (If that sounds totally loopy, sorry, I'm a little tipsy right now.) And then I decided to go as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween, a proper one not a slutty one, and I even ran into my own wolf, who was dressed as nothing and/or James Bond, because the most dangerous wolves are hairy on the inside. And then that seemed the perfect way to teach a kid about concepts and symbols and connotations in literature. And I decided to do my mid-term Victorian Lit essay on 'The Lady of Shalott' because I'm completely enamoured with and haunted by that poem, and this led to me and my mother dissecting it at the kitchen table until the wee hours of the morning. And then I watched Pan's Labyrinth (I know, a thousand miles behind as usual) and Freeway in which Reese Witherspoon knows how to say motherfucker. A lot. Tangled up somewhere in the beginning of this is a European English-dubbed version of Snow White my dad recorded off the tv when I was little and once I remembered it I had to find it. You know how vague things from childhood that resurface all of a sudden have this urgency because you think you have a limited time to remember before it submerges again and is lost forever? Youtube sorted me out, and I rediscovered the least annoying and most endearing version of Snow White I've seen yet. The relationship between Snow White and the Jester is really sweet, and the dwarves wear these little suits reminiscent of E.T.'s neck. Let me know if you've seen it! Apparently when I was little my favourite Disney movie was Snow White & the Seven Dwarves which I don't really get because MAN is her voice irritating. And the Kristen Stewart version was just...dissatisfying. I swear you could have shaken twenty minutes out of that thing just by deleting shots of her pulling her patented angsty face over and over again. (Can I just note here that I'm actually a fan of K-Stew, just not of that film and the subsequent adultery that came out of it?) I think part of my coolness toward Snow White is the fact that I don't really get it. Like, this is my understanding: the evil stepmother wants to be the most beautiful woman in the land, and when her mirror tells her that Snow White is the fairest, she wants her dead. So far, cool. But what redeeming features does Snow White have in order not to be killed? I'm not saying she should be killed just because she's beautiful, but she has lips red as blood, skin white as snow, and hair black as night. That's her whole shtick. Therefore her redemption is her beauty... WHAT? How can her redemption be the same thing that the queen's being condemned for? Fair enough the queen's sinning through extreme vanity and jealousy blah, but her vanity is kind of pitiful and desperate because she's clinging onto her beauty whereas Snow White is just this stupid naive little TWIT who sails through purely on her looks and befriending furry animals and baking pies. I don't. Get. It. Can anyone explain the merits of the story to me? I'm sure there are some. Personally I think the story would work better if Snow White was actually Mousy Brown or Sarah Plain & Tall, but whatever.
  • After an unwelcome dearth in the cinematic aspect of my life, me and Maz, Maz and I, decided enough was enough, our friends suck, and so we took ourselves off to see James Bond. Different as we are in our tastes, we seem to have a mutual interest in Smart Action Thrillers. P.S., spoilers ahoy! So Bond is Amazing and Scottish and Albert Finney Bourne Connection YAY! And Bond girls are impossibly gorgeous. And death by komodo dragon ouch. This sequence disturbed me because aside from the fact I have a pathological problem with sympathizing with Bad Guys, and that my imagination runs away with me, I have also seen documentaries on these large scaly beasts and recalled that their jaws are so crawling in gross bacteria that one bite apparently paralyses prey so that dude was ALIVE when he was EATEN by a KOMODO DRAGON in a CASINO. Bad bad bad way to go. The cinematography was STUNNING. Javier Bardem is SCARY. Glen Coe is GORGEOUS and NEAR. And the whole Jason Bourne/James Bond debate is STUPID because they exist in two totally different universes. Don't lie, you know it's true. Also, I think I initially wanted to see this because Sam Mendes was directing and I've been in love with him ever since American Beauty. Such a good choice. Also-also, I now do this thing in movies where I like cruise the credits to see if Thomas Newman's scoring, and to my surprise and delight, he scored this. That man gets around. Since I haven't seen much of the Bond oeuvre I can't really comment, but I thought the whole Oedipal theme between M, Bond and Silva was fantastically messed up. And the homoeroticism just made total sense because I've always thought of Daniel Craig's interpretation of Bond as bringing that element to the table. Like, for me Bond is so closed off he's almost asexual, but finds more emotional comfort in homosexual activity and uses women as distracting instruments of release. And then there was that shot in the last third of Bond's parents' gravestones and his mother's name is very pointedly foreign (was it French? I can't remember) and I took this as suggesting that Bond's predilection for impossibly gorgeous European women is bound up in the loss of his mother at such a young age...which again ties in with the Oedipal theme...and Silva laughs when he notices the graves, as if he knows. My mother on the other hand took this to mean that Bond and Silva were long-lost brothers, so. Anyone have any thoughts? And do people think Daniel Craig is in fact the best Bond? I know a lot of...ahem...middle-aged people think he has nothing on Sean Connery because that guy is the epitome of 60's cool, or in the case of my mother they also thought Daniel Craig looks like a pug or a monkey or something. I can't say whether he's the best Bond or not because I haven't seen all of the films and I've never read any of the books, but I do think he is the best Bond for our time. I think the key thing about the character is that he evolves with culture, he isn't still stuck in the 60's. He absorbs cinematic and social movements and reflects them back out to us. I don't think people would embrace the character as much nowadays if--and I'm sorry to harp on about this, but it's true--Bourne hadn't come along and set new standards for the action genre. I actually saw Casino Royale before I was ever aware of Bourne and the most vivid thing I remember is feeling in the cinema like I was the one being beat up because the violence was so gritty and visceral, in a totally amazing way. In the post-Bourne phase, Bond was actually allowed to get hurt, and when physical injury appears, it opens up a window for emotional injury. I think that's what our time needed, a hero who was also human. Now people are talking about how we've moved onto the post-Christopher Nolan Bond and maaaaaaan, am I excited for where the story goes next!
  • I was out with the other two thirds tonight, and we were sitting in Wetherspoons sipping our cheap alcohol and wondering...when did our lives get so complicated? It's so nice that we're all going through kind of similar jackhole things at the same time because we can all relate and sympathize and advise, but it's just weird. I feel pretty content in my life right now, I feel like I'm over it, but the line between good and bad seems to be getting blurrier. Or, not even that, but like I'm leaving it behind, because maybe I have to explore the limits of my own character and I want to do a particular something to prove to myself I can do it even though it is wrong. But the thing I'm realizing more and more is that barriers aren't physical, they won't sound alarms if you run up against them, or repel you back like a force field. They are choices, and not foolproof ones; you keep making that choice every day, because there will always be temptations or distractions. I guess what I'm trying to say is that nothing is ever really off limits, and that is weird. Things seem so much simpler when you're a kid.
  • I'm enjoying the hell out of Friday Night Dinner series 2. Every time I watch this show there's an influx in my vocabulary of phrases like 'SHIT ON THE SHITTING THING' and all its merry variants. Also, I fancy Jonny. He actually has such a sweet smile. It's like when Judd Nelson smiles in The Breakfast Club, it's so fleeting and you've been waiting so long to see it that it's astoundingly beautiful and kind of takes your breath away for a minute.
  • I don't mean to sound like an arse here cause I'm genuinely curious and quite out of the loop, but when did M83 become popular, as in, Top 40 Radio 2 popular? I knew it was them (him? I don't know, this always confuses me. Formerly them and now him, I think) a couple of months ago when I heard the 80's tribute music in the background in work, and then I checked the other day and yeah, Midnight City by M83. Like, I remember saying to people three years ago that I liked them and they gave me funny looks like I was saying I had a thing for a chemistry equation or something, and even back then I felt like a doof for not knowing who they were before. I don't think they were ever particularly obscure or niche, but TOP 40?! Blows my mind. And now I feel really old. My favourite song of theirs/his will always be Skin of the Night because oh yum. I was thinking today of how I got into them, and I remembered it was because I was watching Donkey Punch on C4 one night (shut up) and IMing a friend who was also watching it at the same time (seriously, you'll break a rib if you don't quit laughing). I know my friend and I weren't the only losers who did this instead of actually watching things together in the same room. Anyway, during the... scene of a sexual nature, there was this really cool song in the background, like listening to the underground or something, and I HAD TO HAVE IT. Everyone right now is going, seriously, there was a scene in which people are all kinds of naked and a girl gets punched in the back of the neck and DIES and you paid attention to the SOUNDTRACK? Yes, that is correct. The song--a remix of Don't Save Us From the Flames--was unbuyable so I made my friend download and send it to me and thus an M83 fan was born. I guess this is kind of redundant now since everyone probably knows who they are, but if you like John Hughes movies and feel nostalgic about the 80's chances are you'll like M83. 

Speaking of music, my current Playlist of Life is:
Sea of Love by Cat Power which of course being the awkward creature I am I heard first in a gay Belgian film called North Sea Texas (it's adorable) instead of in Juno or whatever else is inevitably more popular than that.
White Horse by Taylor Swift because it's grown on me.
Ho Hey by the Lumineers who my friend in uni just saw and now I'm well jell!
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift which reminds me of the joke Meejin told tonight: Taylor Swift waved at a guy across the street and he didn't wave back. The new album will be out next month. IT'S FUNNY CAUSE IT'S TRUE.
Skyfall by Adele because...is a reason really necessary?
Ride by Lana Del Rey because Simon Mayo is a genius and I love how it's kind of melancholy and how she reminds me a little of Kate Bush near the end with all her high notes.
Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia because I am a thousand miles behind everyone else.
And The Bourne Ultimatum soundtrack <3. John Powell can come score me any day. I don't even know what that means. 

What's everyone else listening tooooooooooo :)? My mother had SmoothXMAS on all day, so I'm in a pretty holly jolly mood!


Hope everyone's well and not succumbing to frostbite/exam stress! 

Monday, 17 September 2012

A Not-Summer Post


Oh my holy goblin, it's been so long since I wrote a 'personal' blog post I've kinda forgotten how to do it O_O.

I did have another version of this all typed up and ready to go, but it felt a little too personal, plus it was long  and largely incoherent (I'm just as shocked as you), so it's been absorbed into my diary instead. It was my first day back at uni today, and I was in for a total of forty minutes, which was sufficient enough time to completely freak out, Lose All Faith in Self, and feel defeated before I'd even begun. I suppose it didn't help that I'd had very little sleep, no breakfast, it was raining, I was cold, a guy in a lilac hoody practically walked through me, and etc. A couple of days ago, on the other side of summer, I had this kind of affected superstition that if I didn't do a 'My Summer' post then summer wouldn't officially end and everything in it would kind of bleed into the next chapter, like this:



But like I said, the intended post was too personal, maybe because I was panicking and when I panic I tend to spill my guts a little too messily all over the keyboard (ew), and I was super tired and just really not in the mood to do anything except watch The Horse Whisperer and go to bed early. And you know what? On the other side of summer, it is so obvious that bookending that period of time doesn't change things one iota. A few days ago my friend and I were browsing through some old photographs and we kept noticing how the seasons were very well established. The summers were hot and sunny, the autumns were rich and gold, and the winters were icy blue and mystical. Of course, retrospect is a deceptive thing, and probably those pictures were taken on days when the weather was particularly paradigmatic, but still. The weather has definitely changed over the past couple of years; the seasons kind of blend and smudge together. And I guess that's the way life is too. No matter how many little traditions or exorcisms I perform, like chopping off my hair at the start of term, or setting goals by the expiration dates of bus passes, I cannot compartmentalise the things that happen and how I feel about them. As much as I am resistant to the let things flow/come what may philosophy, it is probably healthier and more natural than to stanch and divide and suppress. I think. I can't force myself to jumpstart the getting over it process if I'm not quite there yet; that would be deleterious in the long-run. The restless part of me is impatient and eager for it to begin, but for the wrong reasons. Since I seem to express myself better in images, I suppose what I have to do right now is wade out into the water, and let my heels sink into the sand, and let the waves flow over and around me, and keep standing up. I'm not sure why these images are always to do with the ocean. I'm also not sure why in my head it is night time and I'm near an old harbour and I'm wearing torn raggedy scraps for clothes. Must be the Victorian Lit course seeping into my brain already. But yeah, I guess not actually being ready to move on.org is why I've been having these conflicting thoughts of "I want to move on because I don't want to still be here when I'm 21" (prescriptive) and "but I also don't want to move on, because that means it's really over and I can't...hope about it anymore, and I'm not quite ready to let go of that yet" (descriptive). I guess I'll be ready when I'm ready and the impatient part of me is just going to have to deal with that, because better this than dragging all that crap around and dumping it on someone else's lap. Or something. I think I'm still in the shell-shocked stage, but I've grown accustomed to being shell-shocked...does that make sense? 

And now I'm going to devolve into bullet points recounting life over the past few months cause I'm a waster:
·         The summer was begun by returning to North Berwick, this time with Meejin's little sister who I kind of want to adopt because we both love movies, she makes organised dance cool, and has the common sense that neither me nor Meejin possess. Which is an asset when you're going to stay in a demonically possessed house for five days. Except she was leaving after three. When we arrived at said house, the attic was lying open with the pulley stairs kind of hanging down into the hall. On the last night Meejin and I discovered that not only can we run for twenty minutes straight along a beach, we can also do it again five minutes later when we think we are being stalked. Seriously, that town is just Wickerman creepy at night. And here's a tip from me to you: 'zinc', when placed appropriately, is a v. good word in Scrabble. Thank me later ;).
·         I went to the cinema six times to see five different films; I spied Kevin Bridges in an ice cream parlour; Limmy came into my work and I bought his copy of Se7en; I took many driving lessons and clipped off one hubcap; I went on four ostensible not-dates; and read exactly eight books. I also did so little that I had time to enumerate what little I did do. Neat, huh?
·         Meejin spontaneously appeared at my door one evening and we ended up gutting my room until two thirty in the morning. It is frightening how much crap I had unknowingly accumulated. I can now see my desk once more, and my floor is no longer the site of the Two Towers (of DVDs).
·         I am embroiled, or partaking, or something, in A Situation. It is an indication of my lack of self-esteem that it took me most of the summer to recognise this fact, and from the outside I could justifiably be accused of being a bitch for appearing to allow it to go as far as it has. But I had to really know it before I knew, you know? Anyways, I never would have thought I'd be involved in something like this and while I'm surprised at myself, I feel intrigue rather than guilt. I'm not quite sure what that says about me but if I scrutinize anymore I will be struck permamently cross-eyed. If nothing else, it is interesting research for a book that I never could have gotten second-hand. Which got me to thinking, how far are writers willing to go in the name of research?
·         Speaking of writing, I done practically none, and I think I might expand on this later because I rarely talk about it to anyone, in reality or virtuality (is it bad that I totally smiled at that word?). To cut a long story short, I reckon this dearth of creativity was due in large part to...
·         ...my experiencing something of an identity crisis. In fact, crisis is the wrong word because it implies immediacy, and this is a sprawling languorous thing which is still going on. (This would be one of the things I was attempting to contain in summer.) The only way I can explain it is that I really really wanted to write, and I knew what I wanted to write because I'd planned it all out, but when it came to actually writing I just couldn't. There were other niggling little things like setting, format, the overwhelming choice of words in the English language, but the centrifugal problem seems to be that I have forgotten how to write like me. And I'm not quite sure how to fix that.
·         The Eglish teacher I had for four years in high school moved to Thailand with his family in August, and I'm feeling increasingly...not sad, just kind of oh about it. I kind of can't begin to describe the nebulous significance of his presence in my life, and how he always believed in and supported me even after I'd left school and I was no longer his responsibility. In a selfish way, because so many aspects of this summer have felt unfamiliar, and I'm embarking on something now even more unfamiliar, it kind of feels like I've lost an ally or a pillar of support. But mostly I'm just happy he's getting this amazing opportunity, and I hope his new students appreciate him as much as we all did.
·         And then this is the really frilly bit of news at the end of the bulletin: I'm taking on a couple of students to tutor them in English for Reasons which are mostly but not all to do with money. Also: there are some weird fuckers on Gumtree.


And here are some pictures to commemorate:

(This is what a not-date looks like.)

And this signifies making time for friends around busy schedules, 
not the fact that we are Total Losers.
I may have had a total slo-mo writing summer, but I was the co-creator of this.





Also, this is the sound of life right now:




Thanks for reading :) x


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

So I saw The Bourne Legacy, now with less suck


When I wrote the original Bourne Legacy review I was in a rush and my brain had been mushified by a cold and the fact I've been getting steadily dumber over the summer. This should account for its massive suck quotient, which has hopefully now been removed. Also, spoiler alert, cause I may talk about What Happens. Cheers Emad.

Before I start, may I just commend my fellow audience members during the 2.30pm showing of the film on being Splendid, despite some of the elderly women behind me thinking it was a comedy, and the person whose phone kept going off, and the guy in front whose head was the size of Jupiter. I also apologize for accidentally wiping my nose on a teabag and then announcing it to all of you, and for my mother's subsequent fit of laughter, and my occasional bouts of audible indignation.

So, like, what's The Bourne Legacy all about? Well, it's not about Jason Bourne for a start, but it is about the legacy (read: shit creek) he's left behind for the CIA to deal with following the events of Ultimatum when he and Landy totally blew the whistle on the CIA's secret shenanigans which included, among other horrid and completely illegal things, rendition. Parallel illicit programmes within the CIA are therefore being covertly shut down. The easiest way to accomplish this is to cull the operating agents of these programmes by either blowing them to smithereens in the Alaskan wilderness or by ingesting a little blue pill concealed as one of those the agents are all pumped up on anyway (this part totally reminded me of the Alice in Wonderland connotations of Neo's choice in The Matrix). Our man, Aaron Cross, manages to not-die through various plot contrivances including a CGI wolf (yes, you read that right, continue) and leaping out of women's cupboards, apparently. He teams up with the bio-scientist who is part of a team which designs the Superman pills, and demands to be taken to Manila because he's totally jonesing for his next fix. Basically, this is the story of a junkie travelling half way across the world and occasionally kicking some butt.

Is it better than the original trilogy? In the words of the Vicar of Dibley: Would you like the long or the short answer? Both please. Okay, well, the short answer is no, and the long answer is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. However, it is much better than it had any right to be and I didn't feel insulted by it, as I expected to be. The mercenary agenda driving this movie is nicely hidden by something which appears to be a decent tribute to what went before it.

Is Aaron Cross/Jeremy Renner better than Jason Bourne/Matt Damon? I would direct you to the above answer. Of course not! Are you a lunatic? Jeremy Renner turns in a great performance, but he talks too much and he's more 'Blockbuster' than 'Bourne'. He almost had too much conscience left to be a believable trained sociopathic killer. And his plight is a little less compelling than Bourne's so the film ends up lacking suspence and a truly sympathetic protagonist. However, the brief flashback sequences in which he is shown to be extremely emotionally vulnerable were affecting. All of the main performances are wonderful, espesh Ed Norton (nasty little boy) and Rachel Weisz (shouts a lot), but the characterization is a lot less subtle than the original trilogy. The protagonists are Good and the antagonists are Bad and that's kind of it. There's no internal fragmentation and mindfuckery like with Conklin, Abbott, Landy, Vosen. And the single LARX agent they introduce at the end to assassinate our heroes? By the end he looks more like a zombie than a human, and I always feel uneasy with things which enter the picture only in the third act. Oh, also, a fellow agent who is blown to smithereens and also talks way too much apparently is in the CIA's Bad Books because *gasp* he fell in love. I'm not the only one who rolled my eyes, am I?

Were the fight scenes edge-of-your-arse or edge-of-Bond? Erh, the second one. I think there was a total of ONE hand-to-hand combat scene, and of course it had nothing on Bourne because Paul Greengrass wasn't there to direct it. There were big planes, motorbikes, a chase through a house which was pretty thrilling, and a fantastic scene involving a basement laboratory, a lone gunman, and his Crazy. That felt relevant. But no, there was no killing anyone with towels, ball point pens, toasters, rolled up newspapers, or any of the above. The violence was simultaneously unengaging and borderline nonsensical killing spree a la Big Bry Mills in Taken. It is a sad day when that sentence exists in relation to a Bourne film.

Did it pack a punch? Somewhere in the solar plexus? Or the heart? Or the head? Nah, not really. Essentially the crux of the film is Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz running away from really unthreatening Villains. And before you say anything, I KNOW Jason did a fair amount of running away, but I always got the sense he was also running towards his antagonists because he wanted answers and they had them. Even in Identity with all its naive idealism, Jason makes a huge effort to confront his assailants in order to draw a line under his past. Also, you know in the original movies how the scenes in the CIA hubs were just as exciting as the chase scenes because there was an equal amount of cerebral intensity being pitted against kinetic intensity? That does not exist here, possibly because the first third is clunky due to them having to tie up a lot of loose threads before The Plot can actually get going, but also cause you know... Paul Greengrass et al... Sigh. They do try to introduce an ethical point with the whole behavioural modification thing, but it's more of a plot device than an issue, unlike the ethics in the originals.

Did 'Extreme Ways' appear on the end credits? Yes. Yes it did. A new version, which sounded like they had Moby strapped to the bottom of the boat. A few strains of John Powell's original score was also discernible at the beginning, but I actually kind of liked that as an acknowledgement of the place this film owed its roots to.

So what's the final verdict? Well, The Bourne Legacy was never going to be anywhere near as good as the original trilogy, and honestly, I didn't want it to be. Neither did I want it to be a bad film, because I do actually have a heart and respect the fact that even though this exists PURELY FOR THE MONEY, people did put a lot of work into it. As I mentioned above, it was a better film than it had any right to be and a very competent action/thriller, though it lacks the intelligence and emotional complexity of the first three. It also doesn't feel like a Bourne film, kind of the way the first two Harry Potters don't really feel like the later Harry Potter films. I did enjoy it and would happily watch it again if it came my way, but yes, it did perform oral sex on the Bond movies. Just a little bit.





Monday, 20 August 2012

So I'm going to see The Bourne Legacy

Tomorrow, with the mother, Maz. Come on, don't tell me you weren't expecting this.

Before I go, however, I am posting some predictions because I want to see how my prehatred preconception matches up with the real thing:


1. This film should have been called The Bourne Superfluous/Redundancy because, you know, it is totally redundant and mercenary, which is just really depressing and undermines what went before it.

2. Although the absence of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass will be sorely felt, I am much happier that they had the integrity to stay true to the story and walk away at the right time. You know like, when the STORY WAS FINISHED. Ahem.

3. Aaron Cross is a really shit name for a protagonist, though not quite as bad as Big Bad Bry Mills. There will possibly be some symbolism about air instead of water (the Bond-esque helicopter scene glimpsed in the trailer?) and/or being caught in the crosshairs. Deep.

4. Jeremy Renner will give a really great performance but his character will talk too much and I will spend the whole movie internally admonishing 'Oh Bourne wouldn't have done that...'

5. Rachel Weisz, while wonderful, is too recognizable a movie star to blend in and will demolish my suspension of disbelief. I will also find it weird that she is married to Daniel Craig and is therefore fraternizing/franchising (fraterchising?) with the enemy.

6. At 135 mins (!!!) the movie is too long. None of the original trilogy were over two hours. KEEP IT LEAN PEOPLE. I know, I can talk, right?

7. No one will ever be as awesome as Joan Allen/Pam Landy, not even the clips of her from previous movies they shoehorn in, and the missing rivalry between her and Vosen will be like a big black hole at the centre of the movie. Also: special mentions to Nicky Parsons and Marie Kreutz who are/were also awesome.

8. I will be extremely vexed and indignant when if they so much as suggest this new guy is a bigger threat than Jason Bourne, because not only is that BULLSHIT, it's also shitting on the franchise that gave this movie the means to exist in the first place. I may even be so angry I will shout vociferously at the screen and shake my fist.

9. This movie will essentially give the Bond movies a blowjob and hand over the baton of Most Influential Action Movies of the 21st Century, instead of the other way around. This may also open up a wormhole in the space-time continuum, I'm not quite sure yet.

10. Aaron Cross will be a superhuman pumped up on steroids and consequently won't be as involving or sympathetic as Bourne who was a perfect conflict of highly trained assassin/sociopath and very emotionally vulnerable human.

11. If they use John Powell's score or Moby's Extreme Ways I will have a hissy fit right there in my seat.

12. I will be mildly entertained but not moved to produce fervent outpourings and/or rants of epic proportion ("yayyy!"). This will please me because although I don't want this movie to be awful (contrary to popular belief, I do actually have a heart), I also don't want it to be elevated to massive resounding success by standing on the shoulders of one of the most well-realized trilogies in movie history...in my humble opinion.

13. Since it wasn't part of Robert Ludlum's original trilogy of books which I believe provided the integral spine and heart of the films, The Bourne Legacy will have none of the political/international depth, intelligence or resonance. This will also make me happy because in my mind the original trilogy will remain untouched by the new spin-off and I can say 'Ahhhh :)' which is always nice.



Hopefully I'll have time to post my actual thoughts tomorrow before life gets busy again at night.

Peace n jam and an open mind, x

Monday, 30 July 2012

Second Star to the Right and Straight On Till Morning

I kind of couldn't let the Olympics go by without contributing my own response and letting it live here forever on the interwebs. Okay, who am I kidding, I don't know a thing about sports: I'm here to gush about the Olympic Ceremony!





Can I just say two words?

DANNY BOYLE

JAMES BOND

THE QUEEN

MR BEAN

KEN BRANAGH (yeah, that's right, I get to call him Ken)

JO ROWLING

(Sir) CHRIS HOY

LOTR REFERENCES

DANNY BOYLE

DANNY BOYLE

DANNY BOYLE!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm going to say something that may be shocking and unpatriotic, but until I heard Danny Boyle was designing (directing? producing? I don't know) the opening ceremony I really wasn't that interested in the Games. Not even from a very very bad Classics student perspective (but yay for Greece parading out first!). I'd never watched an Olympic Games before, and certainly not the opening ceremony, because at the last one I was 16 and... had much more self-involved things to do. That ego won't inflate itself you know. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is it takes a big performance and a guy like Danny Boyle, who already holds my greatest respect, for me to take an interest in international, historic and patriotic affairs. Shameful, right?

But OMFG was it incredible!!!!!! I mean, I have nothing to compare it to so the Beijing comparisons went right over my head, but from the raw response of my mother and from basically the rest of the world, I'm pretty confident in my opinion. Danny Boyle deserves a knighthood. People (bitter, bitter people) have complained that the ceremony was horrendous, an obscene waste of money and totally missed 'the point' of a British-hosted Games.

Well, those people are entitled to their opinion but they are wrong but that sucks for them cause enjoying is a lot more fun than criticizing. Anybody who took on this job was going to have a different interpretation of what makes Britain Britain and how best to portray that. There are so many ways this could have been done, and no way is the correct way, but Danny Boyle's way was an absolute triumph. Anyone who's seen his films knows he has a great command of not only the performance and the spectacle but also the point at which that overlaps with music. We know he's good at dark things, at exploring the bleaker sides of humanity, but we also know he's an incredibly optimistic filmmaker and person (Slumdog anyone? 127 Hours even?). He knows how to stand back and look at the big picture, see it for what it is, and be true to it. This might sound odd, but I never feel I'm being lied to when watching one of his films. Everything feels genuine and completely in context. I think he is an incredibly unprejudiced man, and that rare quality combined with his compassion, his artistic talent, his unflagging faith in humanity as well as his ability to accept its flaws and still root for us all—I think that's why he was the best choice for the job, and I think that's why he pulled it off so spectacularly.

And how fucking beautiful and moving was that Olympic torch made out of all the petals? What a symbol, and kind of exactly what the world needs right now. I get why the Games are such an important tradition now; they're not just a sporting event, they're a world event. And you cannot put a price on that. (I mean, you can, but don't be a Pernicity Percy and stamp on my point here.)

By the end of it, I thought I'd never felt so proud, and so happy, to be British. Even beyond that, though, I'd never felt quite so unified with every other person on the planet. And if I ever see Danny Boyle walking along the street, my squealing will be eternal.





Now me and my unashamed love for the whole thing are off to iTunes to download the official album!

Good luck team GB!

x





Sunday, 24 June 2012

Melancholia


This is my first Von Trier film. I think. I wanted to see Antichrist a while ago but would have had to break the law to do so, and I had no friends who wanted to do said lawbreaking with me. Apparently Melancholia is the companion piece to Antrichrist so I may go back and watch it and report back! Anyway.

When I mentioned to one of my friends that I was going to watch Melancholia his response was 'Ooooh that sounds way too depressing' and after I watched it I thought my God that’s such a pity because this film is wonderful.

It’s a divisive film; you either choose to go with it or you don’t. If you do you're rewarded with a communication of what it feels like to be depressed and how it affects those within the blast radius. (YAY!!! Just what we wanted on a Friday night Rosie!) (I know, but have patience grasshopper.) If you don’t go with it the result is probably something that induces boredom, bewilderment, anger, motion sickness and is pretentious into the bargain. I went with this film, and it kind of took my breath away.


So the film is divided into two parts, ‘Justine’ and ‘Claire’, with an eight minute opus at the beginning. This is comprised of a series of shots moving at an almost imperceptible slowness while Wagner’s ‘Tristan & Isolde’ plays over them. I liked this better in retrospect because I was anxious there wouldn't be a coherent narrative (remember: Von Trier virgin). Interspersed between the images of a bride floating in water and a mother and child falling to the ground in a violent hail storm we see a rogue planet gradually moving toward the Earth before finally colliding. From the outset we know what the denouement will entail, and that is central to the film’s thesis.

So, like, if this film is so depressing why isn't it called Depression? Well, I dunno, maybe partly it's because that is a genuinely off-putting and lecture-dull sounding title. But maybe also because the film is an artistic expression of depression, and 'melancholia' is a word that while it does its work portraying Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix type thoughts, it also evokes something beautiful, and delicate, and somehow elegant. Tragic, elegiac, call it what you want, it's emotive. It's a term distinct from depression in that it is not a clinical state but rather a personality trait which often leads to depression. I guess it's kind of like having a cumulus nimbus eternally hovering above your head. Melancholic people are characterized as tending to expect the worst in any given situation, and they feel vindicated when that worst scenario comes true. That is kind of the only happiness they can enjoy and tolerate because it is the only kind they feel they can trust. In a way, they almost want the worst scenario to come true, and perhaps there is a sense in the solipsism and extreme megalomania that go hand in hand with depression that their despair is so deep and all-consuming that it is actually having an external influence. Justine’s descent into depression indeed seems to be actually pulling the rogue planet toward Earth and incurring the end of the world. A synergistic, telepathic serenity appears to exist between Justine and Melancholia, as though a part of each resides in the other and the meeting of the two, the completion of each, is enough to destroy the world. The film opines that people who suffer from depression are able to cope under pressure better because they expect the worst anyway, but could it also be that Justine’s only hope for self-completion or self-happiness is self-destruction?

The first part is the view from within depression, focusing on Justine and her gradual slide from (ostensible?) euphoria to despairing isolation at her lavish wedding reception. The palette during this section is quite soft, muted, with overtones of yellow suggesting both an insularity from reality the way you might get in a nest, and possibly the jaundiced and unhealthy spectre of depression lurking below the surface. The palatial setting and Justine’s wedding dress effuse an element of fairytale girded by operatic tent-pole moments in which the music crescendos and the shot is stunningly, melodramatically poised. This surreality is countered by the almost intrusive reality of the cinematography. I know a lot of people get really frustrated and/or ill when a film is shot hand-held, but personally I’m a fan and it’s used to impressive effect here in portraying the cloying, restless presence of Justine’s depression. The claustrophobia builds in the packed house while the lens swings around searching in vain for space to breathe, and when Justine finally breaks out into the sparse landscape of the golf course and the sky the contrast is even starker. There’s one scene in particular between Justine and Michael that felt so authentic I actually almost blushed and looked away because I was convinced I was intruding upon a real couple’s intimacy. For me the cinematography emphasises a strange conflict of depression; the hand-held sections express the wry, distant, omniscient aspect while the operatic sections indulge the manic melodrama. And the former seems to almost sneer at the latter in the way that I think a lot of people who experience depression do sneer at themselves or the perceived histrionics of others. I think the film needs that portrayal of reality to maintain its credibility. One part is the reality of depression, and the other is the artistic glamour of melancholia. Do we turn our depression into poetry because it’s easier to deal with or because we feel that is the reality of it, that there’s something beautiful and artistically elevated about it?

Part 2 is a switch in perspectives (and palette) to that of Claire who officiously arms herself as Justine’s nurse. Sometime after the failed marriage, Justine travels to her sister’s home where the reception was held, arriving almost paralysed by depression. Claire seems solely fixated on ‘fixing’ Justine but her fear of confronting her sister’s illness leads to a lack of understanding. The film doesn’t bother affecting subtlety in its metaphorical representations of Justine as Melancholia, a brazenness in keeping with depression, giving Claire a rational fear of the planet colliding with Earth and destroying everything she knows and loves. As scientists debate the certainty of Melancholia’s collision with Earth, Claire completely unravels while Justine remains calm and unperturbed by the impending apocalypse. At first disparaging Claire’s vain attempts to escape what she cannot accept, Justine ultimately becomes a pillar, a sanctuary to her sister and nephew, drawing strength from expectations met and the love she feels for her family. In the end the sisters’ roles are reversed, mimicking the ‘Dance of Death’ which Melancholia and Earth engage in.

The fact that Melancholia does collide with Earth and incites the end of the world? I didn’t take anything pessimistic away from that, because when the end does come it is a relief, and strangely moving, and kind of almost uplifting – if you don’t look too hard at Claire. Although I wouldn’t label this a ‘disaster movie’, amongst the plethora of other contenders being churned out by big studios at the mo, I loved this as an exceptionally contemplative and conceptual twist on the genre that kind of creeps along the inside lane and takes the lead. It’s the film Rachel Getting Married wants to be, and tons of people find it completely unlikeable and art house without value. But I think everyone at some point does experience that kind of despair where you just wish the world would end—and this is a cathartic expression of that wish. Is Justine likeable? I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s the point. I think she is just painfully human, as all of the characters are, and that is the most sympathetic thing of all. Maybe you don’t like some of the things she and the others do, but if you open yourself up a little you can understand why they do them.

Every single performance in this film is astounding, with Kiefer Sutherland probably being lumbered with the most objectionable role. (Seriously, what a (fantastically performed) two-faced asshole.) (And nice to see a more sensitive, less bitey side to Alexander Skarsgard.) (With his dad, aw.) (Also, I want to marry Charlotte Gainsbourg.)  But if I was Kirsten Dunst I’d be like, man, this is my Hamlet ‘To be or not to be’ moment. She is in-cred-ible, morphing seamlessly from unstably euphoric to psychosomatically spent. One of the most affecting scenes is one in which Claire tries to coax a very fragile and vulnerable Justine into having a bath. Justine is so incapacitated by her depression she cannot hold herself up and can only manage dipping her fingers in the water. It is such a brave and unrelenting performance, one I could relate to because it reminded me of times when I was so overwhelmed by life I literally could not move or eat or lift my toothbrush. Von Trier himself said that his own experience with depression inspired this film, so it is in every sense a film about depression by depression, and I can understand why that puts some people off. Maybe also the fact it's made by Von Trier, but that aside: I went with it, and it more than paid off.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Snowtown


So here's the first of what I hope will be at least a few review-themed posts. They won't all be as long as this but I guess I just had a lot to say about this film... Next time I'm going to do a 'recommendations' post with bulletpoints and general quickness! Enjoy :)!



Snowtown, a 2010 film directed by Justin Kurzel and written by Shaun Grant, really is based on true events—those of the ‘Snowtown murders’ which occurred in Southern Australia between 1992 and 1999. This is a fascinating if utterly repellent study of the relationships between the ‘gang’ of murderers which developed and ultimately influenced the outcome of one of Australia’s most notorious serial murder cases. I’m not really informed enough about the case to discuss it here, but it’s definitely worth a little internet research if you’re going to watch the film. As far as I know the entire cast, excluding the actor who plays John Bunting, are all non-actors who were residents of the Adelaide suburb ravaged by the murders. If you do watch it look out for Louise Harris who plays the protagonist's mother--there's something very tragic about her performance, and it's my favourite of the bunch, although they're all fantastic! Also, snaps for being an independent low-budget movie.

So I watched Snowtown right off the back of Wolf Creek because I think I was a little enthralled by the possibilities of Australian horror, but also because I’d heard really great things about the film. And man alive, if I thought Wolf Creek was terrifying because it was realistic, was I in for an ungodly wake-up call with Snowtown. Snowtown is terrifying, but in a totally different way to Wolf Creek, which feels hyper-kinetic and steeped in melodrama (the good kind) by comparison. That’s saying something since many people criticize Wolf Creek for being ‘dull’ due to its forty-minute let’s get to know the characters before we shish kabob them technique (I loved it, audience cruelty and all) and ‘obscene’ because of its cinema verite depiction of sadistic violence. Really the only things the two films have in common is the fact they’re both set in Australia and based on true murder cases in the country’s history (with varying degrees of verisimilitude). Apart from that, there’s really nothing of the relative fictitious safety of Wolf Creek to cling onto. Sure, there’s no astounding geographical isolation, no Mick Dundee outback psychopath running around with a Bowie hunting knife and a borderline torture-porn mentality when it comes to offing his victims. But the inverted horror of Snowtown is what makes it, for me, so terrifying.

At 119 minutes and with an emphasis on the nuances of the characters’ relationships and psychology, Snowtown is what I’d call a simmering pot. Calling it a slow burner would imply there’s some kind of climactic explosion at the conclusion, which there isn’t. It’s more a very chilling period, or a punch in the solar plexus that makes you bend double to muffle the pain of the impact. When the film closes and the credits roll, with a disconcertingly jaunty piece of music, you are left feeling cold and kind of derelict—something like the abandoned bank vault where all the bodies were stored alone and forgotten for so many years.

You know, thinking about it now I don’t even know if I would call Snowtown a ‘horror’ movie, because it certainly isn’t a conventional one. There is very little gore aside from some severed kangaroo limbs (the noise that accompanies the image is even more disturbing) and a particularly gruelling torture scene which plays a pivotal part in the narrative—and it’s because the film is not exploring body horror (despite the grisly subject matter), but psychological horror. Or, if this doesn’t sound too pretentious, the many shifting faces of horror. The real achievement of Wolf Creek was its exploitation of the landscape, the unforgivingness of nature. The vastness and desolation of the outback crushed any possibility of hope in that movie. The characters were stranded out in the middle of nowhere and nobody was looking for them. The thing with Snowtown is that it all takes place in this densely populated and moribund suburb of a major Australian city where crime is rife and the authorities don’t care. In steps John Bunting, who in its despair and abandonment, the community scraping by on government benefits looks to as a leader, a dispenser of justice, and to the main character, a father figure. Charming and charismatic, John soon ingratiates himself into the heart of the community scarred by paedophilia and drug abuse. He champions ideologies which border on hypothetical lynch mob operations against those deemed morally corrupt. It becomes increasingly apparent, however, that John does not discriminate between paedophiles and homosexuals, obese people, drug addicts and the mentally handicapped. His highly amiable facade begins to crack and splinter, or maybe he’s choosing to slip the mask off himself, giving glimpses of something truly monstrous lurking just below the surface. It is the insidiousness, the perniciousness, the snake-like perversion of domesticity which is truly horrifying. John is like a black hole; as soon as he walks into the room you are sucked into him with a force beyond human reckoning, no matter how much you resist. He reflects no light, he is merciless, and yet he seems to seek approval from the 16 year old protagonist—the transformation of whom from timid victim to casual murderer is almost unpalatable. 

I’m always fascinated in situations like this when there is a pack of killers—because it definitely feels predatory and calculated in the extreme—by the bonds formed between them. Aren’t they afraid of one another? Are they so removed from humanity they believe they are outside it, that they don’t suspect they could fall victim to the same atrocities they are committing? How can they trust each other so? How does one get to that point where killing one’s friend or brother or neighbour is second nature, is so callous it’s almost banal?

The horror of it is the banality of the horror itself. Does that make sense? The fact that an entire community was aware to varying degrees of the horror unfolding, that so many people were complicit and did nothing, didn’t question the abrupt messages left on answering machines by loved ones? There’s a scene which sums up this centrifugal theme of evil finding its place in the home when the complicit characters walk twenty yards from a living room where a child sits watching TV to the backyard and a shed which contains corpses stuffed into bin bags.

There were a couple of points in the film when I thought ‘I can’t watch this, I have to get out’ because the level of reality was so claustrophobic and intense, the pervading grimness so unrelenting. But I persevered, stamping my feet and whimpering to compensate for the brutality of what I was witnessing, and the end left me utterly drained. It is an exceptional piece of cinema.

As an addendum to the review, the score for Snowtown, composed by the director’s brother, truly carries the film. That is not to understate the film’s power in any measure, but simply to say that the music so encapsulates the film that when the director first heard it he altered the beginning and end of the script. It is the beating heart of the film, in the same note both seductive and disturbingly insidious.

Predictably, as soon as I bought the album it became available on YouTube, so go have a listen! My favourite track is ‘The Dance’.



Saturday, 5 May 2012

Your Opinion Matters! (No, Seriously.)

Kaliméra bloggers!

So, school's out for summer, as they say. I'm off for at least the next 123 days (yes, I worked it out)! Exams went pretty smoothly, and I've had a busy few days off shopping, going to the cinema, exploring weekend huts behind the Carbeth Inn and saying Happy Birthday! The 1st of May is always busy for me because it's not only my mother's birthday, but also one of my best friend's and her mother's birthday. It's great because it always falls right when I'm finishing up with exams, so it doubles as an I'M FREE celebration. Tonight a whole big bunch of us are going out to give Madeleine an encouraging shove into her 20's. Well, better her than us.

It's so weird to have free time again and be able to do anything I want, or nothing O_O. I've performed the ritualistic chucking out of revision notes and rounded up all the uni books I want to either sell or get rid of (41). Which leaves 15 I'm keeping. Among my favourites are: Homer's Odyssey, On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius because it has one of the most excruciatingly beautiful verses on love and sex I've ever read, Paradise Lost, Great Expectations, The Picture of Dorian Gray and a book of essays on different ethical issues as well as two huuuuge anthologies of poems, essays & short stories specially compiled by the English Lit department. I think I got off with a pretty good haul :).

So now that I've got all this free time I have to figure out what I'm going to do with it. Driving lessons, reading the 24 or so books lurking in various orifices around my room, going to the cinema cause hello it's blockbuster season (!!), relaxing in North Berwick aaaaaaaaaaand I've got a post up my sleeve about various writing projects that hopefully won't induce a mass narcoleptic trance.

But first of all I need your advice on two things:

1) If any of you have ever sold anything (specifically books) (specifically textbooks or informational type books) on Amazon, do share your experience. Was it positive or negative? Did you make any profit or did the cost of postage burn a big ole hole in your back pocket?

2) Okay, so I mentioned in the last post that I was thinking of posting a couple of pages with book & movie reviews, not because I'm a savant in any way shape or form but cause I enjoy it :). But a further foray into this venture has revealed the fundamental messiness of pages with lists and text and pictures. Plus the fact I'm technologically inept. SO, I'm either going to acquire a new blog specifically for posting reviews of fings, or I'm just going to incorporate it here. My question is, dear readers or internet nomads, which would you prefer? I have a backlog of 29 films and 8 books (I read slow), but I could probably get them out of the way in a maximum of ten posts since some of the reviews will be pretty short. I mean 'short' by normal standards, not by mine, so they will actually be short. But what do you guys think?


In the spirit of work hard/play hard:







And I know it's probably not 'cool' but seriously, is there anyone with a heart and a camera who doesn't kind of love this song?




HAPPY SUMMER GUYS :D!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Few Quick Things!

But first off:

You know when you say "Well, my mother has no reason to give me The Talk since I don't have a boyfriend" right when the cutie-patootie barista walks past? Yeah. And you know when it's the same barista who thought you were crying that one time? Well, he now either thinks I a) was trying to make it abundantly clear to him I am available, b) am crazy, or c) all of the above.

So, hi guys! Hope everyone had a nice Easter! Just a few quick things before I dive into the murky depths of studying for the next couple of weeks. BRING ON THE FIRST OF MAY, and not just because it is the birthday of several people close to me, but because I WILL BE FREE. Here is my study schedule, which is pinned to the notice board above my desk, and therefore looms over me like some jauntily-coloured spectre of failure:



This morning when I pinned it up, it replaced this, which is the product of late-night procrastination:

Because he's rather winsome.

Also, since I'm posting pictures, I'd just like to make you all jealous with this one:


This is a Cold Stone from 3 Steps to Heaven, which is a place you must go if you're ever in the West End, and you know I mean this because I generally hold the place in dire contempt. I enjoyed this with two friends on a blistering hot day when temperatures rose (actually, technically, plummeted, since it had been warmer the  day before) to 21 degrees CELSIUS! Two days later we had snow. The weather goddess here is clearly a hormonal teenager with a douchebag for a boyfriend, parents who eat pâté and should be defenestrated, and hardcore frenemies all named Heather.

So, last Tuesday I went with the other two thirds to the cinema to see....... *drum roll* ....... THE HUNGER GAMES. Need I say it was epic, amazing, harrowing, brutal, heartbreaking, beautiful, poignant, and completely squeal worthy? In short, I loved it. Big time. But I have way too much to say about it to fit into a quick-flit blogpost... which brings me to my next point...

I don't know if this will be of any interest to anyone besides my life-documenting-and-analysing-but-completely-sane-and-charming self, but in the near future (read: when exams are over) I'm going to add a couple of pages up there at the top *points* entitled respectively BOOKS 2012 & FILMS 2012. When you click on these you will see alternately: a list of books I have read or will read this year along with a mini-review and if I can be bothered a link to a longer review posted elsewhere; and then the same things for films I watch this year WITH COLOURFUL POSTERS. Which is totally not a ploy to keep an internet nomad interested. I'm doing it because I personally love hearing other people's perspectives on things, and this is my way of contributing without bloating up individual posts. Discussions and recommendations would be wonderful bonuses! 

In other news I have officially made it 40 days and 40 nights without Coke. I am, as Rayanne Graff says, squeaky clean like a rubber ducky O:).

I wish you rainbows and happiness over the next 3 weeks, and I'll see you on the other side!

xoxo

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Back By Popular Demand!

Well, less of a demand and more of a prompt. And a growing sense of undocumented life events building up. And unreplied-to emails... *points to self* I suck. Man, it's a good thing overdue blogposts aren't like overdue library books or I'd be looking at a hefty fine along the same lines as Meejin's (£10.35). 

So.

Life has been rather charming recently. I’ve met some really inspiring people and lovely seeing-eye dogs called Milo and experienced lots of quirk with cherries on top. Sure this year has thrown some curve balls, but everyone is dealing with them with lots of fortitude and optimism and moxy. I like it. I like this year’s vibe. I was going to try to describe it in words, but I’d be describing a picture that I could much more easily show you, so:

(I like piers.)

Anyway, I apologise in advance for the total lack of cohesion in this post. It’s just as though I inhaled the heavens and spat the stars back out onto your screen in the form of a paragraphed summary of Life, right?

So, second year drawing to a close this week (yikes) means exam season is right around the metaphorical corner (fuck). And I SURVIVED Reading & Writing Week. Reading & Writing Week? you ask. Yeah, you know, the twice annual 5-day extravaganza wherein I misplace my sanity, have multiple meltdowns and generally end up sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth, eating my hair? What can I say, it’s a tradition. But I lived to tell the tale, so it’s not all bad. Also, remember when I compared double English to running a marathon with weights, and the added onus of Classics to a fat man on my back whilst I ran said marathon? (Just nod.) Well, happily I am still running the marathon and either through endurance or littering I have ceased to notice the weights. The fat man that is Classics is still on my back, but he has awoken from his slumber and now tells me interesting facts about Imperial Rome in an Italian accent, so it’s all good.

Another dollop of good news is that my formerly ill Nanny is no more! Ill, that is. Turns out her brain has super spongy powers and like sucked all of the leakage back in. And after a looooooong hospitalization she’s finally been allowed to go back home. Catch is, she has very bad (read: zero) short term memory, so after 75 days of my dad and uncles reciting over and over WHY she was in hospital in the first place, she still can’t remember, and they have gone slightly doolally. Ironic, eh? One good thing that came out of that whole episode was that my uncle came over from Australia for a month and he’s kind of legendary to me. The highlight of his trip had to be getting to second base with a marble statue of some naked chick in the Art Galleries (picture to come).

Know what’s really nice about life right now? That every time I run into someone from high school one of the first questions that comes up in the conversation is ‘SO HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING THAT KEVIN BRIDGES THING?!’ And then we jump up and down and squeal and generally gloat over the fact the guy went to our school (both if you’re one of the St. Mary’s crew like moi!) and that our little town and our little school which no longer exists has national recognition. Seriously, everyone is so proud to be Scottish right now, and more specifically Clydebankian.

And now for magical bulletpoints because I’m bored of trying to paragraph my nonsense:

v  I have given up Coke for Lent, and possibly for life.
v  Lying in bed with someone at 3am whilst dancing to Mambo Number 5 is one of The Funnest Things Ever.
v  I officially began reading The Hunger Games in a hotel room in Coventry*, and so far I love it! It’s kind of nice to be on this side of a phenomenon as opposed to the other more feral side that comes with the bastardization of something you are unhealthily possessive of and obsessed with love passionately *cough* Twilght.
v  Because uni turns me into a vegetating zombie for 22 weeks of the year, I have taken to renting lots of movies so that my vegetation time holds some approximation of purpose. The highlights so far have been United 93, The Road, Tyrannosaur and Peeping Tom with a special shout-out to A Single Man.
v  Also, I think I have become a little obsessed with Wolf Creek. Texting your nocturnal friend during all hours of the day about it seems to suggest so (sorry David). In fact, I have to confess, I am watching it even as I type. BUT IT IS JUST SO DAMN GOOD.
v  My favourite lecturer for English Lit was giving only one lecture this entire semester so I was determined to go because he like, blows my mind. (It was a great lecture.) But at the end he shocked me by giving a valedictory speech. I couldn’t believe he was retiring and wouldn’t be there for Honours to inspire me about Victorian literature and Shakespeare and all those things I don’t really get but love to dig my teeth and my nails and my everything into! Paraphrased, he said ‘I’ve so enjoyed teaching you and watching you go from 1A to 2B and I wish you all the best in the future. And if I may be so unpolitically correct as to tell you my favourite book, I will tell you it is the Bible.’ And then my heart broke in two. Seriously, I think all 400 of us were choked up.
v  Speaking of, yesterday Dr Fox gave the final Classics lecture on the beginnings of Christianity in Rome, and I kind of had to restrain myself from jumping him the whole time. You know those people who just have natural magnetism? Yeah. Describing him will do no justice to his potent sexual allure, but FUCK. < And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.
v  And last but not least, I have A Purpose in life. Starting in May I’m going to be volunteering a few shifts a week at the Save the Children charity shop in Partick along with Possibly Gay Josh & Gandhi and some others whose names I don’t remember but who are all SWELL. Also: tea.

So, that’s life recently, in a nut shell. The last thing I want to say is this: it’s an incredibly satisfying and liberating thing to be able to say that last year, and the year before, and for the tail-end of 2009 I was deeply, deeply unhappy (I liked the way Nicole Kidman said this in an interview relating to her part in The Hours!). But I’m not anymore. I had this strange notion that in order to be legitimately unhappy, I had to commit to it, or I didn’t deserve that description. Which is bullshit. People are changing all the time—that’s part of what makes them so beautiful, that you can never really define them. Sometimes they are happy, and sometimes they are really genuinely unhappy and they need help. Just because someone is able to pull through something shouldn’t diminish or invalidate whatever unhappiness they were previously experiencing. It seems like a really obvious thing, but it’s something I had to learn. I don’t feel indebted to that unhappiness anymore. I am ALLOWED to feel good, and I do :). And so should everyone.

*I fucking want a double bed.

Word of the day: smirr (it’s different from ‘drizzle’ – rescue the Scots language by dropping it into awkward weather oriented conversations!)





Catch yeez x