All entries for October 2005

October 30, 2005

'So pass me by, I'll be fine, just give me tiiiiime…'

Yes. That's right. it's a Damien Rice sort of evening. You know the sort. I'm ill enough that I can't be bothered to stir much further than the kettle and feel like the world is against me and I'm some sort of useless unloveable lump, but not yet ill enough to be confined to my room in a duvet, making yucky noises that convey the horrible depths of my illness. One of my other housemates is similarly afflicted, another spent the day asleep, and the third has packed her bags and scarpered to the country, probably because she saw this coming.

Plague has struck this house, though not in a Romeo and Juliet fashion, not least because if some amazing mystery man tried to climb up to my window he'd probably fall straight through the plastic living room roof. So sorry, Mr Milk Tray, no romantic surprises for this one. Anyhow, I'm probably more of a Clarissa Explains It All than a Juliet (which, by the way, while we're on that, a ladder leading to your preteen daughter's bedroom window is extremely bad parenting).

So I'm feeling sorry for myself, and am still in a state where, if I could be a teeny bit more bothered, I could go and find someone, and because I was trying to be acceptable and interesting company, take my mind off me. However, somehow the effort this entails seems like just a little too much, and so I'm going to sit here on my bed, and burn incense, and listen to the fireworks and feel like everyone is having more fun than me. I may even drink alone. Yes indeed. And of course write the requisite angsty self-pitying blog entry, and listen to Damien Rice, who is, according to my mother, 'this generation's Leonard Cohen.'

I suppose it's somewhat comforting to think that people have been doing this for years, and even more comforting to think that however bad it gets, at least I don't have to listen to Leonard.

October 23, 2005

Another Saturday, another sponge

People have to stop having 21st birthday parties. If they don't, my life will become nothing more than planning the next cake to outdo the last.

And this is no way to live life, I tell you. I must stop trying to render the world in sponge, and go outside beyond margarine and greaseproof paper. Ah well, 'tomorrow is another day'... as Gone With The Wind would have it (though I doubt Scarlett O'Hara ever had this problem. Mind you, I've never had to worry about keeping a large Southern estate from marauding Yankees either, so I suppose we're even.).

October 20, 2005

Cloudy, turning to fine later

I have a confession. I am in love with the Shipping Forecast.

No, not The Shipping News the book, as would make sense for a literature student, but the real shipping forecast, the actual full fifteen minutes of it at quarter to one every night on BBC Radio 4. My day is not complete without hearing the soft tones of one or other of the nice men tell me about the weather at all the offshore stations of which I don't even know the locations and will probably never visit, and then to wish me a good night's rest, and play me the national anthem as the station signs off for the night.

Sometimes, if Mr Shipping Forecast has pronounced 'patchy drizzle' with just the right burr and I'm feeling particularly affectionate towards him, I will even wish him a good night back. He deserves the respect. After all, he does a sterling job, does Mr SF, upholding one of the last bastions of Englishiosity. I picture him, sitting close to his microphone in the deserted Radio 4 studio, calmly reciting the forecast for the grizzled seafarers in their sou'westers, ensconced in their lighthouses in howling gales, and also the girl lying in her bedroom in the most landlocked town in the country.

Then he turns off his mic, removes his headphones, and strides from the studio into the dark night as the national anthem booms out behind him. He may even, if the evening's weather so demands, have a black handled umbrella and a caped raincoat. He's a mysterious one. Nobody knows where he goes, or what he does when he's not reaching out to the hearts of the millions of people who sit awake after midnight. Yet he is always there in time to do his duty by the lonely contingent of the British populace.

Come, let us raise our glasses and toast to the marvel that is the Shipping Forecast Man.

October 09, 2005

Alas, poor Mel

Mel Gibson, I salute you. Not many Hollywood heavyweights would have the courage to struggle through the entirety of Hamlet despite not appearing to understand a lot of the words. I also admire your fortitude in keeping up your textbook 'madman's stare,' with flickering pupils to communicate the depth of your madness, and the torment, oh! the torment, of your inner soul. Is it any wonder that Zeffirelli decided you were the man for the job after seeing your deep and resonant performance in Lethal Weapon? (Sadly, I didn't make that up – see the IMDB).

Oh Mel, you are a braver man than I (not least because you are actually male), to star in one of the most ridiculous adaptations of Hamlet I've seen. There must be something badly wrong when four Lit students can't keep from laughing about once every ten minutes in the middle of a tragedy.

The gist of it was basically this. Ooh pretty castle, ooh mist, ooh Mel rolling his eyes, ooh castle, mist, fade out, eye rolling, ghost! ghost!, fadeout, rolling, soliliquy, mist, fade out, castle Mel castle castle Mel, ghost!, pointy swords, pretty castle, mist mist mist and Mel, and Mel and Mel and fade. It was …deep.

Seriously though, has there ever been a time when Hollywood has 'done' Shakespeare and the results have been less than painful? (I can't count Romeo + Juliet because Luhrman is Australian and this colours his work.) I just hate it when they get blockbuster actors to fill roles (and cinemas) who don't appear to have any idea of what they're saying. They drone in a monotone, and seem to ignore all of the cadences and rhythm of the language. Yes, you may look pretty in body armour toting a gun, but that doesn't help you much with a two page soliliquy in Elizabethan English about the frailty of existence.

Give me four hours of Kenneth Branagh any day. Even if it is four hours. I felt like half my life had vanished by the time Mel had finally eye-rolled and muttered his way to the credits. However, I'm sure if I fancied Mel Gibson, I would feel differently, and that's probably why it did well at the cinema. He does do a rather nice line in doublets and shiny sword waving. But if I'd been Ophelia faced with a gloomy wall-eyed Mel I would have buggered off to that nunnery long ago and just got the hell out of it, frankly.

October 02, 2005

Guess what I did this weekend?

Read five Shakespeare plays?


Found part-time employment in order to save me from the vicious clutches of my overdraft?


Sorted out that whole business about telling the university I still exist and I'm studying certain modules?


All wrong. Layla and I built a house.

Okay, a cake house. But it's still pretty impressive, for your common or garden sponge. Admittedly, the second storey was a bit dodgy, we had problems getting the chimney straight, and there was some sort of subsistence problem going on that we cleverly disguised by shoring it up with chocolate fingers and relocating it to the freezer for a bit, but that's nothing more serious than the hazards of living in an average student house. In fact, this house is probably better built than ours, with a red front door, a solid roof, diamond paned windows, and flowers round a fetching porch structure that I am assured is south facing. Perfect for a young family or mature professionals, this house needs viewing to appreciate its full potential.

I'd be accepting offers over £100,000, except for the fact that owing to the carnage caused by a 21st birthday tea party, this house sadly is no more.

However, its tragic demise was greatly enjoyed by all, for which we must offer up our gratitude. (You may deduce from that last sentence that I did manage to get through my Jane Austen reading.)

October 2005

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