All entries for September 2007

September 15, 2007

You start a thousand tiny fires in me


You start a thousand tiny fires in me


During a viewing of the movie Quills tonight, I felt the need to tell my friend who was both watching for the first time - and had seen the painting earlier in my room, that when I was painting it I thought of the pyromaniac in the movie who is encourage to paint fires instead of setting them. I think I was afraid she'd be making the connection silently on her own. A word of advice. Don't start talking about missing children, Jack the Ripper and other unsolved murders if your friend is leaving you well after midnight.

September 14, 2007

The man who IS Bollywood

So I was just bonding with my ma this evening over some tv (documentary, check, adaption of the tragic events at Morecambe Bay, check), and that's pretty standard. What I never expected really was to find myself engrossed in a Bollywood movie, and a reasonably candyfloss one at that. I believe it's called Kal Ho Na Ho ("whether or not tommorow comes"), but the reason I'm still watching as my mother has retired to bed is probably for one reason and one reason only: Shah Rukh Khan. He is probably on par with Jesus Christ in terms of his iconic status in India, and Indian audiences are famous for adoring their stars like no other audience can. He has myriad advertising contracts and makes regular film appearances... as himself.

Bearing in mind that I recollect Anjaam from before I hit my teens, here are my Shah Rukh Khan must sees...


Crazy good...

Anjaam: (1994) If you like derranged stalker / revenge movies then you will love this.  Young Vijay (Shah Rukh) is a handsome and charming man with snappy white suits on the up who falls in love with the marvellously beautiful and decent heroine Shivani (Madhuri Dixit). So what's wrong with that? Oh, she's married and totally uninterested in his heartfelt declarations, plus, she has a little girl to look after. So he sets about ruining her life and reducing her to becoming an inmate in a brutal female prison. Then she gets mad, and she gets even, in the most spectacular fashion. The scene with the swimming pool is absoloutely amazing.

Devdas: (2002) I quite happily sat down in front of this one a couple of years ago, even with my usual aversion to Bollywood productions. A remake-of-an-adaptation, billed as an epic love story, the casting, costumes and scale of the film are suitably epic, and well worth watching for the visuals alone. Shah Rukh excels in the role of the charmingly tragic hero, albeit self-destructively bohemian in this movie rather than mentally unstable. The ending is absoloutely beautiful (clue, lots of rose petals) and this is easily the Bollywood movie to initiate the unitiated. Nice supporting role for Madhuri Dixit, who plays the concubine with a heart of gold and a song-and-dance number with which to tell her tale of social injustice. 

September 09, 2007

Burlesque and the Art of the Teese


"I advocate glamour. Every day. Every minute."

- Dita Von Teese

There is no need to introduce Von Teese in this review, for I'm sure that everyone that comes across this post at least has a passing knowledge of who she is. I picked up her book today, without really having planned on it. Browsing, I happened to open it on a photo that I had infact, never seen before. Thrilled, I bought the book.

Perhaps she was more interesting when she was less exposed, and possibly a very dirty girl; before she really spoke, in all honesty. In one pictorial in the defunct publication The Face, she appears at her most decadent. She is wearing crystal studded stilettos and a delicate white chiffon cape, perched atop a bar and placing a glacécherry between her rubicund parted lips. It's almost frightening how much she seems to be enjoying herself. Literally, enjoying herself. Like some kind of personification of the feminine ego run amock in a rhinestone factory.

I find her surprinsingly articulate in this book, and i'm slightly ashamed of that. I'll admit I had my doubts; lost in the cliché that a naked woman cannot possibly be a happy woman, or a thinking woman. I searched the dust cover print and acknowledgements section for the crediting of a ghostwriter, but found nothing. The cover bears only her name under her photograph.

The book is as much history as it is the reproduction of a whole trove of her photographs. It celebrates the history of morality-baiting girly entertainment and throughout is underpinned with the moto of self-creation and creativity. Good fortune, and accidents of nature, especially where beauty is concerened are fine, but craftsmanship and the discerning eye are what marks out the truly memorable. It's not for everyone, but it is an interesting standpoint. There history lessons are quick and easy, concerning the cabaret of prohibition era America, or rationales behind her fascination with satorially extravagant aristocrats - all of which go into proving that Dita is hardly "a pervert without precedent."

Split into two halves, the Fetish part of the book (with it's own cover) suggests rather wonderfully that all clothing is in fact fetish.  During her exploration of the etymologies of 'fetish', Von Teese succeeds wonderfully in retuning the reader in to the real pleasure of dressing up:"It may seem weird - even dangerous- to acknowledge the power of clothing. After all, doing so would seem to limit a woman's freedom to dress any way she pleases."

In addressing one of the many criticisms she admits that her advocated life of hyperfeminine glamour is not for everyone. The stripper addresses the question of the F word in concise statement: yes she is a feminist, if that means that she lives by the ethos of being "being as feminine as possible." In an interview with one broadsheet, she laughs with approval at the idea of being thought of as a 'homovestite.' Alongside The Face pictorial, the accompanying article seemed to attest that she was some kind of deviant of gender politics also. When asked what she thought of American foreign policy, she answered:" Ladies don't talk about politics." The girl has a sense of humour obviously, hopefully, she isn't being serious.

Although fondness for her particular retro aesthetic may wax and wane for those who do not share her obsessions, her ridiculous dedication is forever charming. She is champion of the choosy, the non-compromising, the obsessives, all the contrary little bastards and the downright uncool. As a motivational/inspirational tool for anyone whose most sacred desire is to implant beautiful artefacts into this world, it's perfectly entertaining as a seamed-stocking filler.

September 05, 2007

Audio poetry ( Poetry on Record volume 2 )

'this evening' was an evening occuring several weeks, almost a month ago. It's in italics because I says it is.

I spent a few dusky hours this evening starfished out on my garden lawn, eyes closed, listening to my first ever iTunes purchase.  I had to admit that there was a definite sense of dignity contained in being able to see the mp3 track trundling along its glowing blue line on my iPod display. This stemmed mostly from - I think - it's not having been stolen - like most of my auditory accoutrements*. Never fear, I've been thinking long and hard about my music theivery and all it's pros and cons. More on that at a later date. I had bought Poetry On Record Volume 2, and it was awesome.

I burst out laughing and my laughter bounced around my garden in the middle of my quiet neighbourhood as Amiri Baraka says "Boom boom boom boom.... tinkle!" Obviously I didn't see the tinkle coming. Sylvia Plath's unexpectedly throaty and full voice leaves me feeling slightly arrested during 'Daddy', despite being already familiar with that one. Diane Wakoski's tract on what life might mean without beauty: 'I Have Learned To Live With My Face'was another arresting moment. It's a great introduction to a real variety of well and lesser known poets, effortlessly zooming through humour to confessional. You also really need to hear Anne Waldman's 'Uh-Oh Plutonium'. I just bought the third and fourth volumes....

*I realise the phrase 'auditory accoutrements' as a somewhat experimental phrase, in this context, actually makes sound as if my iPod is stolen. I'll leave it in.

The clutterbug

The practice of poetry has been on a hiatus for a little over a week or so. In that time I've been preparing a vivisection of one my old favourite musical artists, it's being written very much with the personal touch in mind and I'm proud to keep it that way. I've also been writing dregs of fiction, inspired by some very good novels and short stories i've been reading over summer, one of them being 'The Corrections' by Johnathon Franzen. As a landmark event, my bath tonight marked the end of my dalliance with 'Pastoralia' by George Saunders. I had to finish it because otherwise getting out of the bath leaving the job undone (reading, not washing) would've felt like a crime.

Other than that, this week, I've been marvelling over all my stuff. When I'm living at home I pretty much take over the whole house with my paraphenalia. Perhaps I am a periodical, whirlwind tidier. Maybe I work with the cycles of the moon - so might start recording the date each time I tidy to check for any patterns. Anyway, despite my mothers pleas that I become a more neat and tidy person (we've been having this tug of war pretty much since I left the womb) , I've never quite mastered the art of putting stuff back when I'm done with it. Plus, I kind of like all my piles of stuff around me...comforting, reflecting, intrigue-providing - that's stuff for you.

sing a song of stuff

Some evidence of actual output soon.

September 2007

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