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Today, the landlord finally gave me back the damage deposit on the previous house I lived in, 400 quid of which is mine. Only 37 days late but hell, we got it all back, which was more than I was expecting.

Naturally, I banked the cheque and went right out and spent the money [and if that cheque is rubber, my friends, I am *so* up shit creek without the necessary means of propulsion]

I bought some clothes for work (yawn), genre TV videos and two very cool Italian bar stools made of chrome and beechwood which cost 70 quid total but which look trŠs chic. If only the breakfast bar under which they will sit so beautifully existed somewhere other than my imagination.

I also bought a huge mirror: a gorgeous, simple thing in knotted dark wood, but huge. (about one metre by 1.2 metres and heavy) So I went to the taxi service near where I used to live, and asked for them to come and pick me up because I had this huge mirror to carry and the fat controller says "yes, as long as you don't look in the mirror"

And I thought "are you having a pop, you ignorant fuck?" and also "I'd like to put a brick through your window for that" and also, "I think I may ring the police and tell them how many of your taxis violate the law, you bobbing turdlet in the toilet swill of cabbery"

Natch, I did none of these, but I am suffering from a little latent aggression.

I hate bloody minicab drivers and their controllers. If they're not dangerous, they're insane, if they're not insane, they're breathtakingly rude, if they're not rude, they're racist ideologues and if they're not racist, they play country and western at 2am when I have to travel with them for half an hour.

Give me a black cab any time. More expensive but less idiotic.

* * *

Please don't throw stones at me for heretical thoughtcrime, but JESUS these last few Buffy eps on BBC2 have been dull. We're in the mid-S5 longueur here, when it felt like the Buffymobile was crawling up a very steep hill in low gear, before reaching The Body. After that, it was down hill (not in the bad way, in the velocity-increasing way) until The Gift.

The whole Glory storyline was dragged out, kicking and screaming, over too long a time period and there has been a run of utterly blah episodes in which minions do the crawlyarselick, Glory yells about her key, Riley slides off the rails and Buffy looks pained and worried and takes care of Dawn and Joyce.

That's not to say that there are not good moments in there, but they are just teensy moments, compared to earlier eps.

The MOTW this week ripped off Little Green Men and 2Shy, merely showing how using the extraterrestrial imagery of XF undermines the believability of the Buffyverse. It's just too much to deal with.

I could believe in the world Chris Carter [K. controls spitting reflex] created pre-movie, in which we were not alone because there might/might not be aliens, but there was definitely something lurking just beyond our sight. I can believe in the Jossverse, in which evil is seeping from the netherworld to insinuate itself into our world.

But somehow, when you put them together, the bungee cord of disbelief snaps and I'm left looking like taramasalata* on the tarmac.

I don't know why that is, given that they're two aspects of the same fear; maybe it's that one is explained in the language of the mystical and the other in the language of technology.

[The one place where they do collide and it works is Calusari. And 1013 never did anything with that last kicker: "It knows you now" *sigh*]

Anyway, SMG's little moments of breakdown were splendidly done, but I don't care much about Dawn in comparison to other characters. Spike-the-Stalker is getting old and while I know it's part of long-term continuity -- bored now.

Too many little things were annoying this week. Like Willow.

I dunno, I like Buffy and I like the fact that some people whose writing I like in XF will continue writing there, rather than disappearing offline to I know not where, but I have no desire to write these characters.

Except Giles. For Giles I have a plot and everything. *g*

* * *

Yesterday, I treated myself to Stephen Fry's new novel . I seem to have a thing for buying novels by comedians. Stephen Fry is not the greatest novelist in the world but he's consistently funny and interesting. His memoirs, Moab Is My Washpot, are better than any of his novels I've read thus far.

The best of that bunch, in terms of pure plot-driven fun (and NOT going down the tedious route of writing a novel about a comedian) was Hugh Laurie, who came out with a very funny, very bleak, pitch-perfect boy's own adventure.

I bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the third time too. (Lent out the other two copies I had and never got them back.) The film is out on previews next week and I want to read it before then.

I didn't get the Bloomsbury adult edition this time, just the ordinary bog-standards Kid's version. After all, I don't know who anyone thinks they're fooling, buying the adult version. *g*

I also bought the scripts of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologue, which I worship with a fervour which is spittle-flecked and almost embarrassing in its intensity.

Has anyone here heard the Talking Heads monologues? They're inch-perfect and there's scarcely a one of them that won't break your heart. The first set, which were completed in (I think) the late 80s, are almost optimistic in outlook. Bad things happen to people but they're either lacking in self-awareness or reach some sort of happy equilibrium.

In the second set, there's a much more misanthropic tint, one that I find downright unpalatable occasionally.

But at their best they distress me and make me laugh within the same breath.

I think the two best, in the sense of most accomplished, are 'Playing Sandwiches' -- which is about a park attendant who is gradually revealed to be a child sex abuser -- and Soldiering On, in which a woman's facade of happy families crumbles after the death of her husband.

My favourite -- Midnight in the Gardens of Spain -- takes on the suburban murder mystery and turns it into a love story between a housewife and the next-door neighbour who murdered her husband. And then, of course, it stomps on your heart at the end.

I love people who do that.

Putting it like that makes it sounds as though they're melodramatic and really they're not, that's what's remarkable about them. Details are revealed as much by what is not said as what is. Ironies abound. What the narrator is saying and what Bennett is showing us are often two different, contrasting things.

I think that Bennett is more of an influence than I imagined. The revelling in idiom, the sense of quiet desperation, the twisty revelations at the end are all things I love to write.

Maybe that's why I'm so interested in getting the voices right and constructing a twisty short story. I'm not terribly accomplished in the sense of having a unique writing style, but I think I could develop my own voice, given enough revisions.

(Another problematic element in things I've written so far -- that other people have seen at any rate -- is that they've all been based in the US, which is a foreign country to me. A person gets so hung up on verisimilitude and American idiom that they lose their own voice at some point between working out that pavement is sidewalk and learning the rules of baseball)

Anyway. Alan Bennett is god of the week. *g*

* * *

[* Taramasalata = greek dish made of cod roe. Looks like liquidized human being. Not sure if they have it outside Europe, as C didn't know what I was talking about ... Oh, actually, that could have been me having spelling issues.]

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
coffeeandink
Nov. 3rd, 2001 08:32 pm (UTC)
I appear to be the only person on the face of the earth who actually likes "Listening to Fear" (i.e., the Snot Monster from Outer Space episode). I also like "I Was Made to Love You," directly before "The Body." But there's an awful lot of filler in S5, and far too much Glory. Far far too much Glory. Have I mentioned how much too much Glory there is?

"It knows your name now" is a terrific line, but otherwise "The Calusari" bores me. XF is better when its supernatural stuff is more hidden, I think.

Write Giles.
cofax7
Nov. 3rd, 2001 10:18 pm (UTC)
*snerk* at spelling issues
Oh, actually, that could have been me having spelling issues.

No, that was me not having a fuck of a clue what you meant. We do NOT have tarawhatsis here.

And M is right -- write Giles. I'm dying to see you write fiction in an English voice again -- it's been too long since we met Joe.
jcello
Nov. 4th, 2001 02:03 pm (UTC)
Paisano!
Love Stephen Fry. I'd read his shopping list. He's one of those intellectuals who manages not to piss me off, because he uses his wits for *wit* rather than as a weapon to prove just how smart he is.

And Hugh Laurie's "The Gun Seller" is one of my favorite guilty-pleasure books. Hugh is, well, hot.

BTW, they serve taramasalata at my favorite Greek place. I like it, despite its fleshy association, but their flaming saganaki is my absolute favorite appetizer.

Come to Dallas, little girl, and you will be fed like the royalty you are.
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 7th, 2001 12:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Paisano!
I would also read Stephen Fry's shopping list. And I think he doesn't piss me off because his intellect is used so playfully, like all his analytical and linguistic ability is a wonderful, absurd thing he wants to share.

And if only I *could* come to Dallas... alas, I don't think I'm going anywhere much for the foreseeable future. I need the bath to stop leaking and the electrics to stop sparking first. *g*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )