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Good morning LJ, and how are we all doing on this lovely first of June? I have to go to work as do you all, but let's not wazz on each other's cornflakes by dwelling on that particular monstrosity of circumstance.

I have just come back from holiday and I miss it very much. I went to the Costeria Amalfitana, which sounds very grand but actually was mostly Sorrento. I took my mum because my dad has been everywhere and seen everything and now cannot be arsed to leave the house. She first went there 35 years ago, in a snowy March, and has always wanted to go back. If you're ever looking for anywhere to take parents or smallish children to, that part of Italy is the place because it combines safe, reasonably sedate, beautiful and interesting in just the right measures. Although you do take your life into your hands every time you cross the road because the driving is either proof that Italians are possessed of a level of spatial awareness which would defeat topologists, or they're the least rule-abiding motorists in the world.

There's something about the light in that part of southern Italy, a sweet syrupy six-month warmth that you only get here in perhaps the fag-end of August and early September. I understand why so many artists writers and musicians flocked there. Then there's the Italian way of life, which seems to very much about not worrying that everything is 10 minutes late as long as it's good.

We took sidetrips to
• Capri, which was a strange combination of posh and touristy with more than your average amount of chihuahua shite;
• Amalfi, which isn't really worth your bother save for the amazing cathedral and a lovely little shoe shop;
• Positano, of which more later; and
• Pompeii, which was strangely disappointing.

I am not sure what I expected. Certainly there's very little information on what actually happened at the site unless you hire guides of various kinds, and much of the statuery and so on has been moved to the Archaeology Museum in Naples. There's also the fact that it's crawling with tourists like me. It rather queers the pitch for a bit of sober contemplation and imagining the horrors of Vesuvius's eruption when you keep getting distracted by wandering hordes and wondering what possessed the Russian girl to go clambering all over Pompeii in 10cm stiletto heels and a denim skirt the size of a hair ribbon. It was an interesting place but somehow less than I expected.

As for Positano, I have spent much of the week thinking about how if I maxed out all my credit cards, snaffled the loan money for the house and went on the lam, I could probably hide out there for about five years. It's the very incarnation of the Italian town of your imagination, if a little tourist-heavy. It's built on the side of a mountain facing onto the Tyrhennian Sea, and looks exactly one of those Escher lithographs of impossible towns clinging to mountainsides in defiance of all sense and building regulations. There's a black beach made up of small volcanic rocks and it holds the heat powerfully. Threaded through it are what look like emeralds, but they're just shards of bottles: nothing can stay sharp under the roiling mix of sea and pebbles so they're all worn smooth. The streets wind up the hill under trellises and pergolas covered in morning glory and camelias and various other climbing plants. There's the constant sound of birds singing; I have no idea whether they were caged or not but I do know that at least some of them weren't.

Anyway, if I disappear suddenly, after emptying my bank account and ripping off various rapacious financial institutions, that's where I'll be, okay? Just don't tell Interpol

What can I say? I ate much gelato, drank limoncello, a liqueur which tastes like pissed-up lemon curd, bought cute shoes and shirts, swam in the sea off the cliffs of Capri and wandered tiny mediaeval streets. I didn't argue much with my mum, even when she was making political statements which placed her slightly to the right of Oswald Moseley. It was all good.

And then I got home and I swear to god, it was like there was a nuclear winter in London. Also my car was (now what's the technical term...?) completely shagged. So I took it to a mechanic who sucked his teeth and plucked a bottom-squinchingly high figure from the fetid, petrol-laced air and now I will be skint for the next couple of months.

But am I letting it get me down? Am I toss. Huzzah!

* * *

So I gather there was this whole deleting thing, about which everyone was tremendously exercised but now it seems to have gone away a bit? Ah, fandom, I love you dearly but occasionally I think you're like the teenage kid who goes out in his sister's dress and pretends not to know how it looks to your average Joe Bloggs on the street.

I mean, if you want to write orgiastic pansexual debauchery in which wizards frot and tickle each other's every groove with soapy sentient hedgehogs, I say "um yay? If that is your bag, fine. It is not my bag but I'm jolly glad you seem to be enjoying it. Also, you're very inventive but I am not sure joints bend that way"

However people who have not spelunked in the dark cracks of the internet where the Roy Orbison in clingfilm stories are to be found are going to be squealing like Donald Sutherland at the end of "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers", yelling "would you look at that BAG! It's DISGUSTING! With the HEDGEHOGS and EVERYTHING!" (Because let's not forget that the animal cruelty people are among the finest of yellers and pointers)

And we can all say, "Wait! All imaginary fun!" and "No hedgehogs were harmed in the making of this fiction" but that won't change the fact that it's not a 'normal' hobby, it's a bit out of the way. Granted, I think it's a fabulous hobby and more normal than, say, golf, but mine is a minority opinion.

I mean, hitting a small ball into a small hole? Whatever would Freud say about that?

* * *

While I am on unpopular fannish opinions, someone pointed out what bothers me about slash and it is this: the elimination of women. Only she said it better in such a way that it summed up everything I thought and I said to myself, self, you have to bookmark this comment because it crystallises and encapsulates your entire argument about the elimination of women from positions of influence in popular culture and addresses the increasing use of women in the media as totty, sidekicks or bitches whereas in the 30s they had all these powerful roles for the grand dames of Hollywood, and you could just point and say "yes. THAT" and write an incredibly incisive post about the pervasive minimisation of women, and how bad misogynistic slash is self-punishment and everyone would say "but of course, she is absolutely right" and continue writing their slash epics (yay!) but without making the females invisible or totty or bitches and all would be right with the world.

Alas, I then went to watch The Girl In The Fireplace on my iPod, forgot and fell asleep. But trust me, it was *ace*.

* * *

If anyone wants to take issue with me about the last two items in this post, I shall reply in meaningless made-up zen koans. Because I am right and I don't want to argue. (You see, I think that most people secretly think that when they post stuff in their LJs but pretend to be seriously considering some other idiot's opinion in the comments. I've decided to be honest about it.*)

The blue whale sings brightly in the Antarctic dawn but the lonely weasel must whistle The Pina Colada Song [/practicing]


*joke. Noted just in case. ::rolls eyes::

Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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tabula_x_rasa
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
Ahhhh, Sorrento is so lovely! I had so much fun there. I think the key to Pompeii is to go near the end of the day-- right around closing, my sister and I had large chunks of the city to ourselves. And that is amazing. Also, visit Herculaneum. It's still much less famous, somehow. But involves pyroclastic flows of burning mud. And it's just as easy to get to on the Circumvesuvia. Ooooh, now I want to go back! *sulks*

Except limoncello is a foul, foul substance. I still make a face whenever I think of it. *shudder*

And I didn't think the drivers were anywhere as bad as in Rome, who still pale in comparison to Cairo. *is hardcore street-crosser*
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
Limoncello, aside from being the thing you drink at 4am in the morning when you're at a party and you've run out of booze and the next thing on the to-drink list is the furniture polish, is apparently fabulous on vanilla ice cream. You bung it in the freezer and it turns into some sort of oozy wondrous thing.

You're probably right about the drivers in Rome (and I don't remember them being that good in Milan either) but I haven't been to Rome for 10 years and my brain allowed me to blot out the experience of trying to cross the road.

I particularly hated crossing the road in Warsaw, where the drivers are mad -- mostly because you're supposed to cross in the underpasses which are sinister and smell of widdle.
parthenia14
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
I have to say, I read the title as "Do you think I'm a nonce because my ringtone is Debaser."

*giggles inappropriately*
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
I snerked at this. I think it would be JoJo if I wished to broadcast my nonceitude.
ropo
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
I have great love for you. Let's run off.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Come to Positano with me. We will ogle fit men and eat ice cream. it will be top.
mandysbitch
Jun. 1st, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Do you think I'm a ponce because my ringtone is Debaser?

I dunno. It's a relativist argument isn't it? Mine is "Maps." Pixies v Yeah Yeah Yeahs: discuss at will.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Given that the alternative is either an annoying blurping ring or some techno monstrosity, I think it's quite nice to have Debaser. I have Mer Du Japon by Air when I need something more sedate
katie_m
Jun. 1st, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
When I went to Pompeii, it was raining. I actually highly recommend this, not that you can put this recommendation into action. Cuts down on the tourist level significantly.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
Actually I bet that would be rather lovely if the views weren't too hazy
comice
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
Expanding, because hey, when have I ever been brief?
I wish to run away to Positano now merely based upon your description, especially of the beach itself.

:: sighs ::

Sadly, I have to go to work now, but I'd like to point out that I also have an equity line, and one that is sadly tempting.

In other news, I don't need to adopt your fannish positions, since I already hold them, but the latter one is sheer genius. It absolutely puts its finger on an uncomfortableness that I've felt but not been able to name. Of late, I've noted the dearth of strong female characters on the shows that I enjoy. (I mean, I love Heroes but the three key female characters are a teenaged girl who's a cheerleader (and has a potential to be awesome), a stripper (who murders as a sideline) and a totally corrupt and foul ... mother.) And when I look at fic and fandom discussion, the only time the women are ever mentioned, it's in relationship to the men in their lives (or the men they should be sleeping with or are pining for, according to the fandom) and not as protagonists in a story. It's depressing.

I'll have to try and remember to reduce other's hobbies to that level of silliness the next time I have to explain fandom.

Freud, indeed.

Lovely to see you!
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Expanding, because hey, when have I ever been brief?
It makes me feel a bit left out. Because while I have read and enjoyed slash, and as hossgal says lower down, some stories are such a tight focus that they don't miss women, or feel incomplete without them, a lot of stories go to an awful lot of effort *not* to include the women in the show or to distort them into figures I barely recognise, and that bothers me.

I want a show with strong women or interesting women. Not necessarily women who best fill out a 34D bra.

::loves on Dr Who with its strong student doctor but wishes she would pine a little less::
hisreasons
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)
I think it was se_parsons who first pointed out that male slash exists in such prevalence because male relationships tend to be the only game in town.
hisreasons
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
Just re-read your comment and I thought, "Wait, maybe she already remembered." Pardon me, if that's the case.
(no subject) - cofax7 - Jun. 1st, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - se_parsons - Jun. 1st, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jun. 1st, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jun. 1st, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
k2daisy
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
However people who have not spelunked in the dark cracks of the internet where the Roy Orbison in clingfilm stories are to be found

Ahahahaha, oh how I have missed you and your razor-sharp wit! Thank you for essentially reaffirming what I've been saying, albeit funnier and more directly and infinitely more charmingly. :)

The trip to Italy sounds wonderful. I am jellus.

infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
I read your post and thought ITA, but then I was Overcome by a Pyroclastic Flow of Work Bollocks and did not ITA as I should have done.

If you an hubby get a travel week, try the Amalfi Coast. It is honestly one of the best places I have ever been on holiday
violetisblue
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
I think you're right and it's why I've pretty much gone off m/m slash in general. I needs my womens.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
I like reading m/m slash but I pine for women in stories. I miss women when they are not there. I don't see why a predominantly female fanbase would be so intent on eliminating people like them. I Just. Don't. Get. It.
hossgal
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Italia, a plug for a koan, and that slash link
the driving is either proof that Italians are possessed of a level of spatial awareness which would defeat topologists, or they're the least rule-abiding motorists in the world.

Based on the sampling I have done of the rest of the world's driving - including, but not limited to: Boston, Miami, BA, and Seoul - I'm going to go with option B, Bob.

I have decided that I would also like to hide out in Positano. At this point, my finances would not let me get to the Azores, alas, and I would have to walk from there.

***

If anyone wants to take issue with me about the last two items in this post, I shall reply in meaningless made-up zen koans.

Well, in that case...*g*

Everyone should be free to be their own little unique snowflake, *AND* to have everyone else a) recognize them in their uniqueness, b) approve and c) want to be just like them. And if you say otherwise, you are a meanie. Also, what do we in fandom care what the grannies in Peoria think? (aside from (a), (b) and (c) above) All we want is to have writing fanfiction be acknowledged as normal and okay. With the slashing and chan and wings and mpreg and hedgehogs and all. But still unique! And daring!

And you're still a meanie.

***

God, that was a lot of work. This koan better be good.

***

More seriously, if you ever find the post again about female representation in slash fic, do share it about. I'm not about to tell people they have to write stories with women in them - imo, there are tons of excellent stories that would suffer, construction-wise, theme-wise, if they had to be shifted to include a sizeable female presence - but it has always seemed strange to me that so much of fandom was bent on taking stories with women in them, and then writing the women *out* of the story. Not always, not every time, but still.

- hg
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Italia, a plug for a koan, and that slash link
You could always stow away from the Azores to Napoli and then take the train and bus. it would only cost you €5 max to get to Positano. Come hide from Tha Law with me and Ropo and Angstville.

* * *

He who tickles a badger with a feather must stand in puddles of custard

::nods sagely::

Did I detect sarcasm there, Ms hg?

* * *

I think you're right that there are plenty of stories which would be thrown off kilter by the presence of women. But there are exponentially more which *are* thrown off kilter by the determined elimination, minimisation or vilification of women who are part of the canon source and I don't understand how the authors find that satisfying, though clearly they do.
musesfool
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
what bothers me about slash and it is this: the elimination of women.

yes. this. This is also why I have serious problems with mpreg, and not just because it's Not My Kink.

Also, I wish I were in Italy. I've never been. Maybe you can take me with you when you go? I'd probably fit in a suitcase, and um, I know how to curse and find a bathroom in Italian...
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Yes. Eventually you get to a part where one's determined adoption of Not My Kink runs out and you're left only with WTF? Because sometimes the treatment of women is just plain off-the-scale weird and troubling

Join the merry band of outlaws hiding in Positano, on the run with only our wit, gelati and credit cards.
(no subject) - musesfool - Jun. 4th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
minnow1212
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
...I kind of want to argue just so I get a zen koan.

I’m glad Italy was Italy. And thank you for this:

>Threaded through it are what look like emeralds, but they're just shards of bottles: nothing can stay sharp under the roiling mix of sea and pebbles so they're all worn smooth.<

which brightened my morning.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
He who turns back the surf is like an eagle plummeting into a chocolate pudding

:::makes aaaaooouuuummmmm sound:::

(no subject) - minnow1212 - Jun. 1st, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
cofax7
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
I love you thiiiiiissss much ::holds hands out wide::

I want a zen koan!

And I want you to post more.

And a pony.

And for fandom to stop being stupid and overdramatic.

But I'd settle for you posting more often.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
:::waves:::

How are you?

I have no ponies and yes, fandom has had much of the DRAH-MAH in the past fortnight. It's as though everyone got bored with sedate scribbling and decided to go ka-boom all at once.

* * *

The Capybara and Master Vole were on a long road by the lake and the capybara said "what is the way to the golden mountain?" Master Vole paused a moment, eating a Milky Bar, and said "by the silver lake and third on the right past the offy and then left at the tramp who smells of burnt rubber and dog food. "But how shall I know where to go if the tramp moves?" asked the capybara. "We are both rodents," replied Master Vole. "We know who to gnaw when the moon is made of donkey bollocks"

:::nods wisely::: I think you will see the sagacity of that one


:::runs away:::
(no subject) - cofax7 - Jun. 2nd, 2007 04:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jun. 3rd, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
vonniek
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
Yay, Italy! Your description of Positano makes me want to pack it all up and move there *right now*, job and family and fiscal responsibilities be damned.

the dark cracks of the internet where the Roy Orbison in clingfilm stories are to be found

Aw, I loved those Roy Orbison in clingfilm stories! There were strange and charming and surreal. Much more my bag than whichever epic McShep BDSM slavefic seems to be in vogue this week.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
They were rather intriguing. And apparently part of a whole internet performance art thing, which I love.

Join the band on the lam in Positano. I think there are six of us now
vaznetti
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
I want to run away to Positano, now, as well. Damn this working-for-a-living crap!

If anyone wants to take issue with me about the last two items in this post, I shall reply in meaningless made-up zen koans. Because I am right and I don't want to argue. (You see, I think that most people secretly think that when they post stuff in their LJs but pretend to be seriously considering some other idiot's opinion in the comments. I've decided to be honest about it.*)

I also want to append this all my fannish opinion posts, forever and ever, amen. Maybe without the disclaimer.
infinitemonkeys
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Maybe it should be an icon. "You know I am right and I don't want to argue" *g*
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