Monday, August 31, 2009

on weekends and weasels

Yet another weekend passed - this time with not one, but TWO hangovers. I am remarkably skilled at both creating and dealing with hangovers - whether or not this is a sign of encroaching alcoholism, I know not. However, I got to see some people that I hadn't seen for a very long time. So it was probably worth it. Wasn't so impressed when Sunday's plans went down the gurgler due , to wretched Media Studies, which (in case you hadn't picked up on it already) is the new Metaphysics. University is impinging upon the time I get to spend with NICE people and I don't like it. At all.

So apart from drinking, what did I get up to this weekend? Music was business as usual - equal parts exhilarating (I'm playing stuff that Patrick Wolf wrote. Eek) and frustrating (having to deal with playing more than 3 flats upsets me) but not particularly note-worthy (ha). However, I did go to see The Young Victoria, which was one of those movies that you go into knowing the basic plot but are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film. And boy, has this film got quality. Emily Blunt shows a surprising amount of steel as Victoria, but an even more surprising amount of gentleness towards Albert, who is played by Rupert Friend. All I know about him is that he's dating Keira Knightley, so I was pleasantly surprised by his ability to carry off an accent with believability. The music was great, the costuming even more so, Paul Bettany popped up as Lord Melbourne and was great. All in all, this is sort of a upper level chick flick. And tops anything with Katherine Heigl in it. (Has anyone see The Ugly Truth? It looks shocking.)

While I'm talking (typing?) about an era where finding a man was the priority for most women my age, let me talk about Jane Austen. I'm not a fan. Its all the repressiveness, all the behaving that I don't like. And then I read Persuasion last week. For no real reason other than I needed to read something that wasn't about Buddhism, America or Mobile Media. And I had a three hour break, so I polished it off then. And I loved it. Persuasion was Austen's last novel, and I finally understood what she was doing. She was being satirical. Satire is grossly misunderstood by my generation, so no wonder I missed it. But the protagonist of Persuasion, Anne, is fantastic. Like Cinderella, she's stomped on by just about everybody, including Captain Wentworth, who she once nearly got engaged to. The story takes place 7 or 8 years after the engagement fiasco, when Anne's family goes bankrupt (sort of) and Wentworth returns. He's all terribly Colin Firth-y, and Anne is having none of it. The novel made me giggle all afternoon, as Austen's attacks on the class system of England are probably more evident here than they are in her other works - or possibly because Persuasion hasn't been victim to repeated dramatisations like Pride and Prejudice has been, its easier to take it as a satire instead of a romance (although apparently there's a version of Persuasion with the lovely Rupert Penry Jones.) So I have finally enjoyed a Jane Austen novel! I still wouldn't want anything to do with any of the characters, but I can sort of see what people are on about when they gush over her.

And as for books, I've found myself reading a lot of pre 1950s stuff recently. There's been Austen, of course. But there's also been The Crimson Petal & The White, which despite having a slightly irritating ending, was one of the wildest books I've read in years. And now there's Wesley Stace's Misfortune which is brilliantly written and even more brilliantly conceived. I'll write more about it when I finish it, but it's a great Gothic book that is so very very clever. And finally, I've been reading lots of F. Scott Fitzgerald, in preparation for an essay I'm going to be writing about him for American History. So far I've re-read Gatsby and Tender is the Night, now I'm reading The Beautiful and The Damned. I love his turn of phrase, how it seems so effortless, and seems to reflect the assumed effortlessness of that generation. His words make me want to drink Mint Juleps and Champagne, learn the foxtrot and do my hair in finger waves. I've been thinking of trying that anyway, but my hair is getting longer than ever and is quite thick. I have a sort of pageboy look going on at the moment, and sometimes if I curl it write, I can pretend I'm Rita Hayworth.

Fitzgerald has also inspired my latest clothing quest/craze - I want a white summer dress. Sydney is warming up, rustling in anticipation of spring. I can see me wearing a white or cream dress as a colossally bad idea. I'm bound to spill something or sit in something, but I don't care. I want one. And I think that with my hair being so dark at the moment, I could probably pull off a white dress. All I'd need is a long red necklace and red shoes. Or blue. Or a sash! So now that I've made that decision, I'm trawling Etsy and Ebay for something vintage and affordable, as my Spring resolution (much more effective that New Years Resolutions, I've found) is to stop buying new clothes and only buy vintage or make my own. (I'm also going to wean myself off meat. and make more of an effort to get to my mobile before it stops ringing.) I haven't decided if I want to make this imagined white/cream dress or not. Maybe I'll find a dress on etsy, and make a back up version in case of aforementioned spillage? If you see anything, anywhere, that you think I might like, please please let me know!

Finally, Jack's Mannequin's clip for Dark Blue. The song is one of my guilty pleasures, as its very very very pop, and Andrew McMahon's voice can sound a little whiny. But I think this is their best song, and it's certainly their best film clip, and I wish, I wish, I wish that someone in Sydney would organise an event like the one depicted in it. I would be there, dancing my little toes off, and I would win it. In my new white summer dress, of course!


lizzle said...

We can totally find you a white dress. If I hand't got you to dye mine, I would have let you have it!

Yay Friday!

reilly said...

So if you know how to download torrents, a great place to start would be downloading all of the Jukebox or Billboard hits at They have them from 1950 to the early 60s, and they're great for the songs/names everyone knows but they also have the forgotten ones.

I'm not sure what genres you'd be interested in, so I think I'll just throw some names out there, and if you check them out on youtube and really like something, I'll give you a playlist based on that. :)

Little Eva
Connie Francis
Little Willie John
Dion DiMucci/and the Belmonts
Ricky Nelson
Tennessee Ernie Ford
Paul Anka
The Platters
Sam Cooke
Jimmy(or ie) Rodgers
Ben E King
Bobby Darin

If you're interested in a little earlier music, try the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, and the Mills Brothers.

And of course, you can't go wrong with Elvis or Buddy Holly.

reilly said...

You're very welcome!! I used to not listen to female artists very much for some reason either, but now they definitely make up some of my favorite songs.

Eliza K. said...

If you enjoyed Persuasion you should try and find Geoffrey Gorer's "The Myth in Jane Austen" - your best chance is a school/college library - which is a short (I promise!) piece of criticism on the works of Austen. He basically argues that all Austen's novels are the rewriting of the same story - in great parts autobiographical - and in some she lies about some things, in some about there. Persuasion is supposed to be the culmination of this writing process, the novel that sort of contains all her other novels, and thus her best.

Also, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Crimson Petal and the White, it was also one of my best reads for this year. And I did like the ending! Did you know there's a collection of short stories (The Apple) that continues the stories of some of the characters? (we don't find out about Sugar, though, at least not conclusively)

Eliza K. said...

"in some about *others*"