Tuesday, June 29, 2010

bite me.

I woke up this morning to find that I had spent the night in bed with a copy of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Considering I'm not even reading this book at present, and it was on my bookshelf when I went to bed, I'm a little concerned. Well, not really, as I knew that I was going to spend today finishing off Twilight, so my subconscious was probably trying to suggest something else. Let me be very clear. I am not reading Twilight by choice. I am reading it because it is a required book for my Women's Lit course. Boo hiss.

I knew my plan of getting all my reading done during the holidays would come back to bite me. Ahem.

When I found out Twilight was on the reading list, I wasn't that irritated, because most of my irritation was directed at the fact American Lit wanted me to re-read Beloved by Toni Morrison. Then they decided that they'd rather we read A Mercy, and all of my rage fell upon Twilight.

I feel this rage is justified. For I am not a reader of trashy novels. I get no joy out of reading works that rely heavily on dodgy punctuation and overusing the thesaurus. Vampires and werewolves are boring, as are passive-aggressive chiseled male love interests. But you've heard all of that already. The world is divided, after all, into people who love Twilight and people who loathe it. I was surprised that it was worse than I expected. The section in which Bella Swan takes her shabby copy of the Complete Austen outside to read, but then can't read because Sense & Sensibility has someone called Edward in it, and then Mansfield Park has an Edmund and it's all too much because it reminds her of nutjob Edward Cullen was just painful. The whole book is painful. Like having a tooth drilled - you're sort of numb from anesthetic but you know it's going to hurt later. And all the Wuthering Heights rubbish. Urgh. I can't even explain my repulsion for Heathcliffe and Cathy. My sister once commented (screamed from a rooftop) that the only way Wuthering Heights would be any good was if it had guns. I have to stop writing about these two books, with their wetfish females who don't like anything at all except the emotionally abusive, physically stupid male love interests and tendency to live in desolate landscapes. Bah.

There are lots of fun Twilight criticisms out there, much funnier and more astute than me. Two of my favourites are Cleolinda and Alex Reads Twilight.


To something nicer: I'm also reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South which is waaaaaaaaaaay better than I thought it would be (and also better than the two mentioned above) . The books on the reading lists aren't really that bad, although I've already read half of them. I'm enjoying rereading them and thinking about why they've been picked for the courses I'm taking, what makes them special (or not). I hadn't been into a bookstore for months, and then all of a sudden I found myself in Abbeys and whoa. I must look like a big snob, as I'm mostly buying Oxford World Classics. This morning I went out to buy new shoes and came home with Les Grandes Meaulnes and Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky. I'm also powerless to resist literary journals like Brick and Zoetrope. In the face of Etsy's zine section, I'm like Napoleon at Waterloo.

............is that pathetic?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

go on, go on

I often think about methods of repetition, and how my life goes in circles, like Lottie chasing her tail. And I think about how the days bleed into one another, making Thursday the same as Monday. And then I think about Endgame which is my favourite play ever, and how bleakly awesome the human condition is. And now, after Wednesday night when I went to the theatre and saw Ian McKellen and Roger Rees in Waiting For Godot I think about how funny the bleakness of human existence is. That's what Beckett is all about, examining why we go on, even when we can't go on, and should we go on - what's there to do if we don't go on? No, we must go on, because going on is all there is to do. One of the things that makes Beckett accessible to me is that my entire life, my mother has (perhaps unconsciously) spoken like one of his characters. He writes in a language I understand, with his jokes satisfying my immature side. Theatre, no, Art is supposed to make you think, and I will challenge anyone who comes out of a Beckett play not thinking about their existence and motivations. Especially the current Waiting For Godot production - it's mesmerising and awesome, from the heartbeats in the music, to the ridiculous Potso, to the relationship between Vladimir and Estragon, although I admit I was mildly concerned by how old and tired Rees and McKellen looked, until they started dancing. Their movements are those of tiredly cheeky old men, and there's an element of The Goon Show in Beckett, some of Spike Milligan's sadness. If you've never seen a Beckett play, run out and go to the first one you can find.

And if you've never heard The Goon Show then really, you aren't a human being. My dad played me tapes of this radio show when I was a kid, and I've never quite recovered. Libby and I used to sit around reading the scripts together, hooting with laughter. Napoleon's Piano and The Flea were two particular favourites. The show consists of the adventures of Ned Seagoon, voiced by Harry Secombe, and his encounters with Gryptype-Thynne and Count Moriarty (voiced by Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan respectively). There's also the hilarious brown-paper trousers Bluebottle (Sellers) and the less-than-half-wit Eccles (Milligan). The show is surreal, absurd, ridiculous and fantastic, all in one, with bizarre plot lines that make no sense. They used to play it very early in the morning on ABC radio and when I couldn't sleep, I'd listen to it and be in a good mood all day. Now you can buy the cds. I presume it's on you-tube somewhere. Prince Charles is also a big fan. Libby and I used to try to get out of PE with the excuse that we had "The Lurgi", and blowing raspberries ala Bluebottle is common place in my household. I wish there was a radio programme like this on these days. Or just anything decent on the radio, really.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Oh dear. Just a scant week after term finishes, and I've already gotten my self prepped for my exam, had my birthday and a haircut, been violently ill for three days, read all the books I borrowed from the library, exhausted my dvd collection and become terribly bored.

It seems I've been terribly busy without being busy.

Part of the problem is that I am (gosh,this is pathetic) so desperate for next term to start, and also a wee bit lonely. Any attempts to make friends with people last term sort of...fizzled. I must be very scary, due to the fact that in two of my classes I was the only person who wasn't studying education. And possibly because I had to explain who Horatio Nelson was, and people don't like it when you tell them that the telescope was invented before WW1. I don't know, really, it just felt like a weird and lonely term. So I read a lot and learned a lot and thought a lot. Nothing very profound, or if it was profound, I forgot about when some wag nearly knocked me off the train on the way home. The moment they work out a safe non sweaty route from my house to university, I'll be bike riding every day. Even in the rain. That's how much I detest the late running over crowded train ride home.

Often the train is so crowded, I can't even get my book out to read. Because the books I've been reading are very thick, or have covers with naked people on, stupid classical art, like the biography of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester that I'm blearily making my way through. It's ridiculously awesome in its detail, but sort of heavy going. So I've my concession to the World Cup, a copy of Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, which is about wizards who try to play football. I don't mind admitting that I'd quite like to be the Librarian from Unseen University, even though I'm not that fond of bananas.

And that's it, really. No profound thoughts or ranting. Just one tired litle pickle of a girl who's worried that the net four weeks are going to be interminably boring.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

not exactly

from Jezebel

"Doctor Who script writer Gareth Roberts would like for Lady Gaga to be on the show! "She is no stranger to dressing up and would be more than a match for the Doctor." (NYPost)



I have absolutely nothing against Lady Gaga, I'd just like her to stay away from the Doctor. As far as I'm concerned, she makes above average pop music that has been super hyped by her costume and staging. The woman is clearly very clever and aware of how fame works, but the thought of her on Doctor Who is a little cringe worthy, mostly because I'm not sure Gaga can step out of her persona, become an alien and let the Doctor save the day. It wouldn't be an episode of Doctor Who, it'd be an episode of Lady Gaga.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I turned my computer off last Tuesday, and didn't turn it on again till this evening. I did the same with my phone.

And spent the weekend with my mind on Eurovision.

There are guarantees with Eurovision - the Greeks always wear white, the Eastern European entries are particularly bizarre, the wind machines get over worked, the commentators that SBS sends to Europe are awful and snarky. France enters the same song every year and everyone pretends not to notice. Oh, and the English entry will be dreadful.

This year though, the English entry's dreadfulness was surpassed by Cyprus. Or Wales, depending how you look at it. For some reason, the songwriters who wrote the Cypriot entry couldn't find one decent singer in the country, which numbers 862.434. According to Google, so that's probably wrong. But still. So they went looking and found a Welshman. There's something about this that seems very dubious. The Welshman in question pulled his shirt up to reveal "I Love You Mum" had been written on his stomach before the performance. Which was, musically and Eurovisionally, a bit woeful.

Most of the entries that made it to the finals were woeful, come to think of it. There was the Ukraine's entry, which was an Evanescence meets Kylie apocalypse type song. Belarus did something operatic about butterflies. The highlight of Azerbaijan's entry was Jeremy and I trying to work out how to do the dance move that symbolised a "drip drop drip drop" (you make a figure eight, horizontally and then a dismissive gesture). The English entry, while an improvement on last years Andrew Lloyd Weber fiasco, was still pathetic and confusing. Iceland should have sung about volcanoes, but instead chose to sing in French. There were too many ballads, which made the Romanian duelling piano number twice as exciting as it really is (plus the male singer looked like my cello teacher). Moldova had some thrusting saxophones, Serbia sang about the Baltic-ness, but we were mesmerized by how the singer's hair surpassed Justin Beibers for hilarity. Turkey was just plain weird. The German number, which won, was very cute but needed more oomph.

The whole thing was made much more "oomphy" by the addition of a bottle of peach schnapps we found in the pantry, but the fact is, Eurovision was lacking for us this year. This was partly because of the overload of ballads, but also because LITHUANIA WAS ROBBED.


We're still a bit sore about that. I mean really, Lithuania had the Eurovision package - their song was upbeat, had totally insane lyrics, inflatable instruments, an great costume reveal (plaid pants to sparkly hotpants) and was totally kitsch. Which is what Eurovision was all about. Sadly, Lithuania didn't make it past the 2nd Semi-final. My siblings and I rediscovered our (tenuous) Lithuanian heritage and threatened war.

Then my brother fell in love with the adorable Lena from Germany and defected. Traitor. Claudia got fed up with the annoying commentary from the SBS people, and I became interested in whether you could track a country's alliances/historical enmity through their Eurovision votes. Turns out you can. The French and English still hate one another, all the Scandinavian countries love each other and Georgia and Russia aren't talking.

Eurovision. It's kind of like the United Nations, except that they achieve stuff (hilarity and breaking of wind machines, mostly) and everyone else isn't invited.


Romania (watch the official video clip, it's hilarious)

Germany - I love Lena's pronunciation, but I wish she'd been more glittery.


Two days of term left, and then I can finally, finally, finally, sit down and do some reading. And clean my room. And the Film Festival starts tomorrow!

Oh, and it's my birthday in a week.