Sunday, 29 March 2009

March 2009: edited highlights

In lieu of an interesting new post (I've written 2,000 words of fiction, 500 words for a friend's website, and a long-ish lesson plan today), here's a rustle through the baggage of the Ides:

- The Spirit (n.) Film we saw and were enormously underwhelmed by. Samuel L. Jackson needs to sort it out, but not as much as Frank Miller does. I'm not sure the premise 'ghost flirts with women and Scarlett Johansson dresses up as Eva Braun' should have passed the 'Mr. Weinstein' pitching test.

- Walking (v.) Less of this in March, largely due to increased work commitments. The seasonally-affected Magyars have chinned up in the last week or two, according to my ambulatory researches, but I'm not covering five miles a day any more.

- Bankruptcy (n., abstract) Darlington FC have a month to find a buyer or they will cease to exist. Internet chat suggests that we'll have to pull together and reform as a 'Fans' Club' in the murky depths, where I would be - in all honesty - perfectly content.

- Politics (n.) Ferenc G. is gone but nobody seems to want his job. Corrupt, naive, and arrogant as Gyurcsány might have been, I feel rather sorry for him. When I saw him, he had stopped with his wife and daughter to buy some pre-cinema pic 'n' mix. Sights like this tend to humanise politics. In other 'humanising of politics' news, the godawful Jacqui Smith is all hot and bothered because her Guy Fawkes-a-like husband decided to get, well, hot and bothered on ministerial expenses. My inner schoolboy wants to use the phrase 'wank bank' here, and just has.

- Dream (n.) And a political one, at that. Last night I dreamt that I was crossing a big Budapesti boulevard with Gordon and Sarah Brown, and David and Samantha Cameron were crossing in the other direction.

- Clock change (n.) - 'Time-wasting bastard', more like.

- Badly-written (adj.) - I'm reading sci-fi novelist Brian Aldiss' autobiography at the moment. It's absolutely fascinating if you're interested in the currents of ideas which drove British postwar fiction. It's also terribly composed, and pays no attention to the potential tonal discrepancies between eulogistic descriptions of one's wife and throwaways like 'the water was gonad shrinking'. Full marks for attempts to posit a postwar avant-garde, though, even if this is mucked in with lengthy celebrations of (NO! NO! NO!) Kingsley Amis.

- Well-written (adj.) - I (re-)read Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction earlier this week. I need to write about the appropriation of the Sebaldian voice against Sebald's own arguments about style and kitsch. The decontextualisation of Sebald - only seven years after his death - is infuriating. For now I'll only remark on the wonderful Clive Scott's cautionary reminder, in his obituary for W.G.S., that the infinitely imitable nature of the style of a novel like Austerlitz was/ is a joke that flies in the face of the absolute alignment of form and content that Sebald achieved. For me, Sebald is a Beckett unashamed by the ultimate embededness of style within historical context. There is no superfluous melancholy in The Rings of Saturn; there is nothing whimsical or unearnedly peripatetic about Vertigo. Going back to On the Natural History of Destruction made me ask one or two severe questions of my thesis, I can tell you.

Anyway, that's for another day. I'm off to bed. Xx

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