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 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!