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Wednesday, 28 April 2004

Whatever you do, DON'T use this chat up technique

Topic: LondonLifer

Gullible Twat: Oh. Um, it's Vanessa.
Innocent Victim: Hi.
GT: Yeah, I met you the other weekend at < mumble mumble > ... and you said to phone you.
IV: So now you're phoning me.
GT: Yeah. So now I'm phoning you.
IV: Hi.
GT: Yeah.
IV: So ... how's your week been?
GT: I'm in a supermarket.
IV: Er ... what?
GT: Oh. Yeah, you know. Okay.
IV: Did you say you're in a supermarket?
GT: Yeah. How was your week?
IV: Fine, great. I've had a good week. You know?
GT: Erm, yeah, I'm in a supermarket. I ... er ... never mind.
IV: Right... So, what -
GT: I wondered if you wanted to go out sometime this weekend?
IV: Oh. Yeah. Erm ... sure. I'm busy. Bank holiday weekend. Looking after my nephew, out of London. What are you up to?
GT: Staying in London, as usual.
IV: As usual?
GT: Er ... yeah. Parks, forests.
IV: Parks are good.
GT: No they're not. Forests.
IV: Right.
GT: What about the weekend after?
IV: Oh. Well ... it's possible. I have more time then.
GT: Okay, so we'll meet. < mumble >day.
IV: Okay, yeah, that should be possible. ring me again next week, and we'll sort out an arrangement.
GT: An arrangement.
IV: Oh dear, I'm useless at making arrangements.
GT: Know what you mean. Yeah. So. < mumble >day, eight o'clock at the < mumble > Bar. We'll decide what to do after.
IV: Oh. Okay. Not this < mumble >day.
GT: No.
IV: Sure. Have you -
GT: Bye!
IV: Oh.

Disclaimer: in the case that anyone real ever finds this post, ever ever ever, I made it all up, alright?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:16 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 April 2004 11:46 PM BST
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The Corps of Discovery

Topic: Vic Jameson

- journals of Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Sergeants Charles Floyd, Patrick Gass, John Ordway, and Private Joseph Whitehouse

March 03, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
The Commanding officer feels himself mortifyed and disappointed at the disorderly conduct of Reubin Fields, in refusing to mount guard when in the due roteen of duty he was regularly warned; nor is he less surprised at the want of discretion in those who urged his oposition to the faithfull discharge of his duty, particularly Shields, whose sense of propryety he had every reason to believe would have induced him reather to have promoted good order, than to have excited disorder and faction among the party...
... The abuse of some of the party with respect [to the] prevelege heretofore granted them of going into the country, is not less displeasing; to such as have made hunting or other business a pretext to cover their design of visiting a neighboring whiskey shop, he cannot for the present extend this previlege.....

March 09, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
(Louisiana was officially transferred from Spain to France at St. Louis, with Lewis as the chief witness)

March 10, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
(Louisiana was officially transferred from France to the United States at St. Louis.)

April 01, 1804 William Clark
(Orderly book lists the permanent detachment "destined for the Expedition through the interior of the Continent of North America")
(Three squads formed, each headed by a sergeant who was elected by the men: Pryor, Floyd, Ordway)

May 04, 1804 William Clark
("Memorandum of Articles in readiness for the Voyage" lists what the food they're taking, how much they weigh, etc.)

May 13, 1804 William Clark
River a Dubois opposet the mouth of the Missouri River

Sunday May the 13th 1804

...all in health and readiness to set out. Boats and everything Complete, with the necessary stores of provisions & such articles of merchandize as we thought ourselves authorised to procure -- tho' not as much as I think nessy. for the multitude of Inds. thro which we must pass on our road across the Continent &c. &c.

April 14, 1804 William Clark
Rained the fore part of the day...
I Set out at 4 oClock P.M, in the presence of many of the neighboring inhabitents, and proceeded on under a jentle brease up the Missourie...a heavy rain this after-noon.

May 14, 1804 Patrick Gass
The corps consisted of forty-three men ... part of the regular troops of the United States, and part engaged for this particular enterprize.
The best authenticated accounts informed us, that we were to pass through a country possessed by numerous, powerful and warlike nations of savages, of gigantic stature, fierce, treacherous and cruel; and particularly hostile to white men. And fame had united with tradition in opposing mountains to our course, which human enterprize and exertion would attempt in vain to pass.

May 14, 1804 John Ordway
A Journal commenced at River Dubois
Monday May the 14th 1804.

Showery day.

Capt. Clark Set out at 3 oClock P.M. for the western expedition. one Gun fired. a nomber of Citizens see us Start, the party consisted of 3 Sergeants & 38 Good hands, ... we Sailed up the Missouri 6 miles & encamped on the N. Side of the River.


This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:37 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 April 2004 9:43 PM BST
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Tuesday, 27 April 2004

It's incipient early hay fever that makes me pick my nose, it's not a case of poor manners you know

Mood:  sharp
Topic: Belle de Jour

Having done my seven hours of unpaid overtime for the day, and hoping for a break before I crack on with the last two hours of stuff I've brought home, I'm sitting on the loo, blogging while:

  • texting Harv, whom I forgot I was to meet tonight,
  • picking the dirt from my thumbnail with a nail file,
  • listening to Tybalt trying to over-complicate things on the voicemail,
  • having a poo,
  • stripped to my push up bra , old socks and too small knickers,
  • chatting to my bored under-stimulated cats,
  • composing my pick up lines for a phone call to someone I fancy,
  • browsing blogs on kinja, particularly ones with cute pictures of kittycats,
  • planning what to eat, and trying to motivate myself to include large amounts of vegetable matter in it,
  • picking my nose,
  • skim-reading 152 e-mails (Quote ":) I remember reading that even into the Victorian age to spell uniformly was considered crass. Spelling uniquely made you fashionable.
    Or should I say fashenebel."),
  • wondering if I have time to wash the dishes before I fall asleep on the sofa like yesterday,
  • trying to suck in my gut,
  • realising that several doors and curtains are open, and I can be seen by any passersby.
  • who will not only see me on the porcelain, but blogging from there
Overtly critical comments welcomed.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:10 PM BST
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Turn-Off TV Week

Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Vic Jameson

My verdict from Turn Off TV Week: As I don't usually watch TV (having split up from a long term partner, I'm in the I Need No Material Goods phase that indicates she won in the divisions of spoils), it's embarrassing how much this experiment is teaching me, actually.
Firstly, I realise now how often I put the radio on, not to listen to it, but put it on slightly too low to hear distinctly.
Secondly, I come from Oop North in England, where tradition dictates you leave the tv on, which makes it seem ubiquitous - whereas the fashion in the posher South is to switch it off unless it has your full attention - but with the result that it's louder and more intrusive when it's on. I think I tend to associate television with the worst aspects of both halves of the country, whereas it is actually possible to have the thing on only occasionally, and at a reasonable volume.
Thirdly, choice of tv listings magazine is all. It's dawned on me that the mag I usually get (for the paparazzi shots and gossip, natch), actually foregrounds the rubbish tv, whereas if I get a more expensive magazine, there's actually lots of decent, stimulating stuff on that isn't publicised in my usual rag. So my normal anti tv snobbery is actually more of a statement of my sorry choices of reading material.
Fourthly, I realised all these things just two days into the experiment. So there's limited point in forcing yourself to not watch tv, unless you never watch tv in the first place.... (makes sense inside my head ... mumble, mumble)
Humiliating to say, I think I might actually take up watching more tv as a result of this 'speriment.
Oh the shame! Turned on by Turn Off Tv Week...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:56 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2004 8:14 PM BST
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Diary of Joseph Price, (1752-1828), Quaker Farmer, Innkeeper, Undertaker, Militiaman, Diarist, Saw Mill Operator, Milestone
Topic: Casino Avenue

26th Wind N W & fine day at work at Mill Lobb helping. turnd from Double Gear to Single as it was at first 1 qt Whis 1s6 So

27th Wind N W. of[f] soon at Rees's back to breakfast, then of[f] to Mill & Got it to Go again it appears to Go very Slow but take's much Less water & goo Strong, afternoon Holgate Runing Yerkus s Lot, and 2 acres for Sister Jane & Rebecca, he Run it over on me further than Ever it was before

28th Wind N.W & Rather Cool to be pleasant Disbury plowing with the Widows horses for me in Meadow geard up Bulley & Poney & plow them all Day or till we finished the first time he was tryd

April 29th 1804 Wind S W two or 3 Light Showers before noon with thunder to W, I at Rhudolph Sibleys the Elder, he very Ill Will dye Alley Roberts their Making his Will but they Left it too Late I think he did know me, I think he is dying or Cant Live but a few hours, he made his Mark & we witness it So home at Rees Price Eat & Drink their & so home, then with Morris to Jacob Latch he pd. him on Judgment against Saml. Jarvis 21L 9s9d So home Got Prety Cool, this being first day

30th Wind W fine day at Rees Morn Sanders their Turning Trimers I helping to fix the Centers, John Wilson here I sup with him, then back to Rees's again, then of[f] at the request of Saml Evans to his house, Concerning Some Dispute between him & one hunt a Constibill [constable] that Lives in town they his wife had paid the Money & they had Gone or I would been his bail, I home by Youngs he not at home, Stopt to See Willson he very Sick, home spent 111/4Evening at Wilsons again Yerkus along back


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:54 PM BST
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Monday, 26 April 2004

i have not written anything good

Topic: Creepy Lesbo

I have not written anything good.
I have not looked at anything with a different eye.
I have not been anywhere and woken from my daydream to notice the world around me.

I have not spoken to someone who made me want, need, laugh, cry, or recoil.
I have not curled into my knees, wishing that something were over.
I have not stood gaping at a half chopped potato, realising something about myself - something simple but true, something that's always been true.

I have not avoided a mirror, not wanting to meet my own eye.
I have not reminisced.

I have sung the same lyric over and over and over and over, trying to make the words hurt enough to stop.
I have not measured my success by this or that or the other.
I have not been your sounding board.

I have not telephoned you.
I have not done that brave thing that still waits for me to catch up to it.
I have not hidden from myself inside a habit that dulls me.
I have not tried something new.

I have not travelled, and if I did, I did not arrive.
I have not blogged for you.

I have a task that will take me twelve hours of each day this week and sixteen of Thursday so the blog, the stories, the tales of piteous woe, and -snif- the mad random dating, will retire until Friday sets me free.

Till then, I advise you to close your eyes, think of something pretty, something you feel obligated to keep or to possess, examine it, turn it, let your mind touch it, hold it slightly too tightly, turn it this way and that, see how it looks back at you, look for fear in its eyes, feel how your touch warms it, wonder if you'll be able to let go.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:39 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 26 April 2004 10:44 PM BST
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Sunday, 25 April 2004

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

For all you great writers out there ... blog vanity publishing.

Which reminds me of a meme that might make me look good, thus allowing me to make friends, influence people, who knows, possibly get a shag one day: Which of these have you read?

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby

Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House

James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird

Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved

O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm

Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple

Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse

Wright, Richard - Native Son

Why are they all in bursts? That makes me look so like I can't stick to anything.
I own almost all of these books. And people get antsy when they recommend me some dull volume that reminded them of their life and I don't read it immediately. I have too many books waiting to be read as it is.
My flat at the moment has just one single book in it (Middlesex), plus five that Krystal leant me. The rest are all in storage somewhere in Hackney. It's peculiarly freeing, not to have all your books hanging around, taking up space.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:47 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 25 April 2004 10:52 PM BST
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None o' that

Topic: Yidaho

I got my car fixed! Temporarily - it still needs taking to a garage for (deep breath, it took me four weeks to learn this term) 'glow plugs'.
CarMechanic said sitting in the car park for eight weeks solid meant the battery was dead, and given the battery was apparently the size of a red postbox, I'd have to keep the car running for an hour or two to charge it up again.
An hour or two? My projected Saturday activities - dvd of Kill Bill, washing dirty knickers, cuddling cats then trying to let them excape, hoovering, picking toenails, etc - misted over. After eight weeks of becoming a pedestrian again (and it is a mindset, believe me), I had to drive for two hours.
It was a gloriously sunny warm day. Where to go?
Easy. Epping Forest.
I like South East London - I like the sort of Blitz mentality of being The Area That The Rest of London Forgot. And there are some pretty bits - Pett's Wood, Eltham Palace, Blackheath, the view from the golf course at Beckenham, Greenwich, Dulwich, the view from Crystal Palace - but you Sarf Easterners have *no idea* how beautiful the edges of Essex are. The Hollow Ponds at South Woodford, High Beach, the view on the way to Epping Green - there are so many spots where you can't see a single building. Stuff your poncey Hampstead Heath, you haven't the faintest of a fuck what a city forest is like, till you've been to Epping Forest.

The thing about charging a battery up for two hours, though, is that you can't stop. Therefore, MacDonald's drive-through ice cream and coffee were the only food groups available to me.
The thing about not having driven for eight weeks, though, is that your weakest faults are a little more noticeable than usual. In my case, that's spotting traffic lights on red.
So, hurtling along the A104 at speed, working without a map, in a car where the windows, the seats, the mats, the controls, me, everything is covered in an explosion of emergency stop coffee and runny ice cream, I bombed through the Forest, past the Chingford reservoirs, and into the rolling Essex farmland, looking for deer.

It was gorgeous. Really sunny, breezy, beautiful. After twenty minutes I was in love with driving all over again. I know as a pedestrian, I felt increasingly belligerent at drivers, but in a car, alone, not knowing or caring where you're going, you don't feel like a gas guzzling lazy polluter. You feel like a pilot.

It was so cool, and great and wicked, and class, and top, that I almost didn't mind bumping into Tybalt as I stopped off at my flat in East London on the way home. I'm not going to ruin it by blogging that. Or the mad catholic congregation who kept trying to hit me for chatting too loudly. Or blogging the annoying Goldsmith's twats on the train later, or the mad evening out at a Cuban bar, or the failed attempts to see Kelis, or the thimble fulls of tequila in an empty club, or the Officer I snogged, or how I fucked things up, or the pervert taxi driver who thought I was well up for it by seven this morning. None o' that, mate, none o' that.

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 5.45pm, BBC1, Historyonics ~ Nick Knowles presents a new slant on historical events using reconstructions and imaginary conversations. He takes an alternative look at the truths and myths surrounding the most famous highwayman of all, Dick Turpin. Oh now, this actually sounds cool. Perfect rainy Sunday afternoon blob material. Bag of crisps and some chocolate milkshake, a sofa, maybe a blanket, and this. Great.
2. 8pm, C4, Children of Abraham ~ Mark Dowd, a Catholic who trained to be a Franciscan Friar, embarks on a very personal journey to the Holy Land, Egypt, Turkey, Bosnia and the USA to explore the shared roots and deep enmities of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to try and discover if there is any hope of a shared future. Last year I had to do some research into comparing attitudes of the seven big religions, plus the multitudes of minor atheisms, on topics like blood transfusion, funeral rites, genetic experimentation, the Six Day War, etc. I found, to my extreme surprise, that anything comparative about religion is eye openingly revealing, and often teaches you much more about cultural history than my usual jaded agnosticism allows credit for.
3. 11pm, C5, World's Wildest Police Videos ~ Amazing footage of reckless criminals engaged in a range of illegal and often highly dangerous activities. Featuring the pursuit of an 81-year-old driver with Alzheimers heading the wrong way down the freeway, and the rioting students who turn a campus into a war zone. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
Verdict: There's so bloody little to do on a Sunday that I'll put up with much. I like that these programmes are diverting, and set somewhere else. Will I be upset if I don't see it? We-e-ell ... the Dick Turpin and the religious prog ... maybe ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:04 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 25 April 2004 7:09 PM BST
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Saturday, 24 April 2004

Ghost in the Machine

Mood:  surprised
Topic: Casino Avenue

I know it's actually in itself a compliment that someone should want to, but does anyone else feel like someone's walked across your grave when you notice that someone is busy reading your archives?

[Pssst! The whole blog is archived in text format over to the left, without comments or that annoying sitemeter box that takes an age to load - if you prefer to download, read it offline, and in the right order, my sitemeter won't prickle the back of my neck about it. :D ]
[ P.S. Before anyone gets para, there was more than one person reading. I was imagining them communicating: 'oh holy crap, she's moaning about her gf again' / 'here, look, she's posting up pictures of her dinner now' / 'man this girl likes taking photos of cats', etc ]

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 7pm, C4, Russia: Land of the Tsars ~ Exploring Russia's royalty, beginning with profiles of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. It's been becoming increasingly embarrassing that my entire knowledge of Russian history has been derived from watching the bloke cavort on Boney M's song 'Ra Ra Rasputin'. This must be corrected, and quickly, before anyone realises I was making it all up.
2. 9pm, C4, Sex, Secrets and Frankie Howerd ~ A look behind the public persona of the troubled comedian. I quite like finding out that all the big comedians are manic depressive paranoiac lunatics - it makes me feel better about the jammy bastards finding it so easy to crack a joke. Howerd should be particularly good - sixties era, he should have an anecdote or two about Hancock, Sellers, Sid James and the like.
3. 10pm, C4, Rod Hull: A Bird in the Hand ~ Documentary profiling the turbulent life of Rod Hull, who with his anarchic emu puppet, became a top-ranking star of British showbusiness and a multimillionaire. The programme details both his enormous success and his subsequent downfall, and the life he led before his premature and tragic death. See what I mean? A premature and tragic death. What more could we ask of a family comedian?
I had an emu puppet toy as a kid - the thing is meant to go for anyone at the throat as Hull tries to hold a conversation. Brilliant. There IS no other toy that licenses - nay, encourages - you to viciously attack and punch other kids and even (especially) adults. Not to do so is to desecrate the spirit of the puppet. My dad rued the day I got that damn bird. And Rod always had a better fake plastic arm than any mere ventriloquist.
Verdict: Well, I'm stunned. Stunned that there's actually anything at all watchable on any of the five channels on a Saturday night, in an era when even the broadcasters admit the programming on offer is so execrable that the vast majority of viewers are renting a dvd or replaying a video. And it's all from channel four, the minority taste channel that tried to become populist, missed, and just became supine. Well done, mate. Still not unmissable, though.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:19 AM BST
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Friday, 23 April 2004

She Wants My Hot Beef Injection

Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Been having a very emotional week - always embarrassing when you cry snuffily and pink nosedly for an hour in public at work. I should have been able to tell it was coming, if from the frequency of occasions when I caught myself loudly referring to both colleagues and clients as "bastards".
One single scart lead had broken you see, and somehow shorted all the sockets on that side of the building. Well it seemed a disaster at the time - to the degree that I blurted out my resignation. Not just from genericjob, oh no, that would never match my mood, from the profession as a whole.
Ah well, I only threatened to throw the telephone "through the bloody window", I didn't actually do it. And when they asked if the resignation I'd tendered had been official, I hastily admitted it had been a mere tantrum.

I blame Creepy Lesbo.
I had really vivid dreams about her last night. Notable not for being blog dreams - I had one dream last summer about writing a blog post, and though this is the first dream about another blogger I've had, it's not surprising it was about Creepy, as her blog is possibly the most honest, emotionally truthful, somehow internalised blog you can read.
No, the real weirdness about this dream was that it kept rewinding like an old and very creaky video player, and resetting itself.
Creepy was very small and little, and boyish (and cute), and we were lunching in a Borough Market cafe full of unbearable leftie yuppies. She had extremely small bony bird-hands, but despite this, I fancied her. As we chatted, my mind kept drifting off towards this attraction, our eyes met, and she returned my gaze with raw fascination, our body language mirroring each other, both skipping a breath.
Then a squealing noise would begin, and the dream would rewind ten seconds. Like a Groundhog Day character, I would sit listening to Creepy chatter on, allowing my mind to drift off into wondering if she fancied me once again.
This time, Creepy's gaze was very clearly fixed upon the short annoying straight woman with the kids at the next table, her frank, broad smile was redirected to the snotty ugly kid mewling and puking on the annoying brunette's lap, and she looked back only to enquire of me animatedly what salt beef sandwiches tasted like.
Repeatedly. All night.
No wonder I'm an emotional shipwreck today.

I'll never recover from your cruel rejection, Creepy.

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 7.30pm, BBC1, Top of the Pops ~ This week's best-selling singles, featuring live performances and pre-chart exclusives. You've got to, really, haven't you? These days, if only to laugh at the parade of scantily clad drama school ingenues flaunting themselves as if they'd never heard of a closet. Actually, I like turning on the subtitles, and laughing at the sudden revelation of unimaginably crap lyrics scrolling over the screen.
2. 8.30pm, ITV1, Inspector Morse ~ Morse takes on the case of a missing schoolgirl, revealing disturbing facts about her family along the way. I once moved to Oxford, but came back after a fortnight because the populace were so insipid I wanted to smash their heads in. The only area I could stand to be in was Burberry-Lite (the Cowley Road).
Still, not having to physically be there and put up with people ruining great atmosphere, great learning, great architecture by being so bloody uninteresting means that the place is visually rather lovely. Reading Philip Pullman's trilogies also makes you miss the dreaming spires feel of the city centre. So all said, I quite like a dash of Morse. Imagine, a genteel police inspector who solves his crimes by popping on a spot of Rachmaninov and asking the well heeled polite questions. What would Mr Conan Doyle have said?

3. 10.30pm, BBC1, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross ~ A mix of music and celebrity chat. Jonathan meets Terry Wogan, John McEnroe, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen and Melinda Messenger. Plus music from Supergrass. Gwowing up in the eighties, I'm old enough to wemember how dully obsequious all chat shows were before the great Wossy wevolutionised them. Parky was on the verge of hard hitting in those days, but Wossy burst on the scene by laughing at the stars' sad attempts to plug their latest mediocre offewing. His taste in films is gweat, and by fwiends' accounts, he's a thowoughly lovely bloke, unlike that bitchy wife with the weally huge knockers. So to see him wip the piss out of Wogan, the pwevious holder of the chat show cwown, will be intewesting.
And then there's the battle of the forty something bouffant hairstyles when Wossy meets the equally self wegarding pweener, Llewellyn Bowen. Dammit, I'm wather tempted.
Verdict: Not bad, in a trivial, inconsequential sort of a way - but bliminy, man, this is Friday night! This is supposed to be the best night for programming all week. Sheesh (shakes head sadly).

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Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Earth Day

Christ. Getting up early, waiting for the only bath Malice will allow me to run, I check the news, noticing that Google says it's Earth day. What's Earth day?
It's actually quite hard to find out what the hell the thing means when you look up the official Earth day sites, but hidden deep below a lot of meaningless twaddle about peace bells, 'Cosmic Quests', global peace blitzes (mixed metaphor, surely?), 'Earth Trustees', and assorted rambling hippie whatnot, I found two details:
1. It's the Vernal Equinox. (Scuse me. I like the other equinoxes more. At least it's not always raining for them.)
2. This manifesto: "All individuals and institutions have a mutual responsibility to act as Trustees of Earth, seeking the choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, foster peaceful progress, awaken the wonder of life, and realize the best potential for the future of the human adventure."

I can't for the life of me see any relationship whatsoever between the two.
So I glanced at the rest of the news, just to see if anyone had 'awakened the wonder of life' ...

4 killed, 148 wounded in Riydah bombing
Basra bombings kill nearly 70, including 20 children, violence in Iraq spreads south
Sports Commentator Ron Atkinson makes racist remarks on national tv, gets fired
Mordecahi Vanunu out of jail
Anti Terror Police make more raids
9 Palestinians die in Gaza clash
Shane MacGowan beaten up
Muslim nations in emergency talks
Allegations of kickbacks and bribes in the UN-run oil-for-food programme for Iraq
And do you know, I can't decide if that lot of horrors make the yoghurt knitter's nonsense that is Earth Day look ever more irrelevant, or a testament to the sad idea that peace is a failed objective these days?

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 8pm, C5, Diana and the Camera ~ A look at the princess' relationship with the media, in particular how her life has been preserved in photographs. Basically, I'd be looking for the cleavage shots, here. And no, C5 isn't a clear picture. Distorted royal cleavage. Ooo, missus.
2. 9pm, C5, John Travolta: the Inside Story ~ John Travolta's first major interview for over 20 years, revealing his thoughts on the ups and downs of his turbulent career. I have simple needs. I want X many shots of The Boy in the Bubble, I want real pain to flicker on his face as he admits what shite Look Who's Talking was, and I want crocodile tears whenever he mentions Quentin.
3. 10pm, BBC2, The Alan Clark Diaries ~ Dramatisation of the colourful memoirs of the late Conservative MP. Revelations of Clark's affairs with the Harknesses have hit the tabloid headlines and the media are in a frenzy. Clark yearns to return to the cut and thrust of Parliament, but with his political reputation and health in steady decline, can he realise his dream? I haven't seen any of this series, but being a regular littlest-room-reader of the Spectator, the old Tory duffers of the press are agog at the dramatised depiction of one of their own. I'd want to see if they paint him as a lovable old sex offender, or as a deeply ambivalent old goat.
Verdict: It's not the sort of stuff you'd die unhappy for having missed, is it?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:26 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 22 April 2004 7:03 AM BST
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Torn Tortured Tendons

Mood:  energetic
Topic: Belle de Jour

Every single muscle in my body is screaming. I've had eight days off work, my job's pretty active anyway (there's no desk sitting, so you're moving all day), and added to this was the utter lunacy that made me decide to run to work early yesterday(complete with weighted backpack).

Hold up, let me say that again - after being completely horizontal all day for two weeks, I decided to run to work.

How transparent is the stupid that is this decision?
Easy peasy stupid, mega dunderhead stupid, or should I just lay down in the A road and let the Darwin effect take its course now?

I made it in 25 minutes, and was impressed with my speed, with the fact it only took me two minutes to cool off after, with the fact that despite not stretching at either end, my legs felt fine.
Till I tried to walk up the hill home again.

I ended up lain on the living room floor, whimpering every time I tried to crack the rigor mortis setting into my limbs in order to reach for a packet of crisps (super fit runner's food, doncha know?), and staggering clumsily to bed at seven. Where my tendons performed a tarantella rictus on me for the next seven hours.
Three in the morning, and, oh yeah, now I'm stretching. Now I'm desperately yanking the kinks out of my stiff leaden legs by hurting them as much as I can stand. I forgot to feed the cats, so there's scratches and no sympathy there.

Aww, cummon, don't you pity me a little bit?
It's not easy being this retarded.

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 8pm, C4, Relocation, Relocation ~ Kirstie and Phil help a couple up sticks from London's Elephant and Castle to the Wiltshire countryside, while still maintaining a small flat in the city. This is almost the reverse of my migration, fourteen years ago, into London. (And I have ended up stuck in a second home small flat in the city.) Should be interesting to see how they deal with the complete and utter lack of any cultural life or diversity in Wiltshire, however pretty the rolling Downs are. Property buying is almost a mania in London, and property buying reality tv is double that if you own a property that's risen in value by 200% in the last few years (not that I can sell the damn thing). Duch regularly telephones me with commands to switch on the teev of a Friday morning and give my opinion of the property relocation prices in Tennessee to her. It's not nice, but it's widespread.
2. 9pm, BBC1, May 33rd ~ Lia Williams stars as a woman with multiple personality disorder, who tries to escape her abusive past in a hard hitting depressing drama special, continue after the news at ten. This sounds dreadful, really dreadful, but believe me, there's sod all else on, apart from prison dramas and reality tv. You never see men in tv biopics of people with multiple personalities, do you? Way to give yourself nightmares.
3. 11pm, C4, Frasier ~ News of Sam and Luka's romance doesn't go down well with Alex. Repeat. I haven't watched Frasier in so long that I don't recognise a single one of those names, but any port in a storm - Frasier at least is always well scripted, with great timing, and it would make me feel less like death (particularly running on from the proggy above) than watching the bloody appalling Sex and the City repeats.
Verdict: That is one fucking huge waste of hours of your life. If you want to watch this stuff, might I suggest that simultaneously beating your head against a kitchen knife would rid the world of a moron, Vanessa?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:36 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 April 2004 6:16 PM BST
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Tuesday, 20 April 2004


Topic: Eurotrash

Never never never go to the shops and spend a HUNDRED SQUIDS on food on a day where you're dizzy and your teeth ache from lack of sleep. You will wake up the next morning and cringe (or shout 'oh fuck!' in my case) every time you open a bulging heaving cupboard and watch all types of ridiculous inedible crap tumble out on top of you.
Worst buy: a new sauce that combines Soy with Sambal Oelek. Just because they can. Sigh.

PS: managed five hours sleep. Go me. < end sarcastic >

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 8pm, BBC2, Happy Birthday BBC2 ~ a three hour celebration of 40 years of BBC2, with clips from BBC2 classics such as 'The Likely Lads', 'I, Claudius', 'The Borgias', 'Little Britain', and 'The Office'. Arrgh, I really want to see 'I ,Claudius' again, adn I remember being too young to get all the sex references in 'The Borgias', but knowing they were there somewhere - all those half remembered worthy dramas from my ancient youth in the late seventies are proving worth a retelling. Although I could do without another bloody outing from 'The Office', which I'm sick of, Beeb 2 was amazing before it went all Permo Time Team docu on us. This would even beat out 'A Life of Grime' on Beeb 1, which seems, from friends' comments, to be entirely set outside my flat in E3. Aargh. I seriously am tempted by this.
2. 9pm, C5, CSI ~ the team is duped by a hoax electrocution at a casino, distracting their attention from the theft of antiquities. Gadzoinks, this is actually the only programme I do watch on teev. And, with the slow demise of C4, Five is increasingly my favourite channel. Aaargh, etc, to a repetitive degree. If I don't watch it, I'll only end up spending 136 hours next week, abortively trying to download it.
3. 11.55pm, C5, Angel ~ Fred gets infested by evil bugs. I'd stay up late and watch this old ep just to see the really revoltingly irritating Fred cop it. Angel's about twelvety-two series behind in the UK, and it gets aired at fucking stupid times of the night. I tend to wait to buy the video and watch it then, or download wonder about episodes if the storyline gets notoriously good while it's airing Stateside. My god, that reminds me, the latest ep aired in America on 14th April, which means it's had time to get ripped and put on the web. What an intriguingly theoretical thing to ponder (rushes off).
Verdict: That's actually tempting. Well, the first two are. I might begin to regret this exercise.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:58 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 April 2004 6:13 PM BST
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Monday, 19 April 2004


Topic: Yidaho

Reality's swimming slightly, everything's under a surface of glittery, moving sparkles, and things don't so much stay put any more - they ripple and shimmer in your peripheral vision. There's an over-emotional haze over rooms that are too bright, and a melancholy feeling of comfort and soft, welcoming rightness to the rooms that are too dark.
I find myself wondering at odd underwater moments if I'm asleep or awake, or if I'm dreaming that I'm asleep dreaming I'm awake?

That's correct, I didn't sleep a single minute last night. I'm going to leave off the random brutal blog master act till I have the wit to be able to stop drifting off into an undersea world of never, and work out where I am more than once every five minutes.

Meanwhile, something I was going to do today anyway - it's Adbuster's Turn Off TV Week this week - their big annual push to disempower the media, despite the fact that corralling up Clifford and the Beckhams and garrotting them would be a much cleaner, speedier, method.
As I don't normally watch more than one or two hours of TV a week anyway, it seems stupid to pretend I'm doing it for some noble anti-media/ocracy cause, so instead, during TV Turn Off Week, I'll be looking at the Schedules, and pointing out three things I might have watched, if I'd turned the telly on. And, films don't count - not that I'll be watching any terrestrially broadcast ones, either. At the end of the week, I reckon I should be able to look back and see if there's any point in having the damn plastic portable teev set glowering from the upturned bucket in the corner of the room at all.

[Oh, hey, look, no, it sounds a really logical thing to do if you've not slept for two days.]

Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.

Daily Selection: I might have watched ~

1. 7pm, BBC2, Terry Jones' Hidden Histories ~ Concluding the exploration of Ancient Rome. I'd have given this twenty minutes idle flickering attention, because it's the guy from Monty Python who always looked most bitchily convincing in a dress.
2. 8pm, ITV1, I Want That School: A Tonight Special ~ Britain's school admission process. I love laughing at the socialist guardianistas as their high falutin morals are shredded within six weeks flat of school hunting. Hypocritical self serving bastards that they are.
3. I'd be tempted to watch 'Enemy of the State', because I love trying to spot as many links nods and references to 'The Conversation' as possible in it, except it's butchered in the middle section by the news at ten, so I'd not bother. 10pm, BBC1, News ~ consisting of the usual Becks / Iraq / Dubya / Oil companies in Not Always Totally Honest Shocker / Blair's EU referendum crap, to see if they followed up the local Sarf Lahndan story about Kevin Spacey pretending he was mugged while openly cruising *cough*cough*cough* walking his dog in dodgy SE London local brushland at four am.
Verdict: Entirely missable.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:24 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 April 2004 6:17 PM BST
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Sunday, 18 April 2004


Topic: Casino Avenue

Too busy gritting my gums and fighting the good fight against insomnia to blog. I seem to manage to sleep at night now if I break off to wander around the flat/read/watch movies every three hours. During the daytime is fine, I can sleep like a stone, but as my eight days of holiday finish tomorrow I have to be up at six for genericjob, and for hippyboss' hour and a half long morning meeting (she bribes us with crap tasting croissants). Eek, I'm going to see daylight for the first time in most of a week tomorrow. What if I melt?

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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:32 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 22 April 2004 9:55 PM BST
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Saturday, 17 April 2004


Topic: LondonLifer

Rarely does an online personality test freak me out so consistently as the one that decided I am a RANDOM BRUTAL LOVE MASTER.

I mean come on, would a RANDOM BRUTAL LOVE MASTER have a blog? And if they did, wouldn't there be frequent and disturbing recurrences of a vaulting horse, or horribly grown up versions of Cat's Cradle?


The Sudden Departure
Random Brutal Love Master (RBLMf)

Sweet. Dear. Loving. At Gate 18. Final call.

You are The Sudden Departure.

You've been in a lot of serious relationships. More than a few have ended ugly. Uglily. Whatever. Our guess is that you're a really fantastic girl who doesn't really know what she wants, and you've broken a few hearts as a result. You fall for people easily, and you enjoy the feeling of falling in love, but once you're there, either boredom or the old "grass is greener" syndrome sets in. The mind wanders, and with it goes the flesh. And then the toiletries.

Your exact opposite:
The Intern (Deliberate / Gentle / Sex / Dreamer)

We know you're not the classic "love 'em and leave 'em" type, at least not in a purely sexual sense. You have too many serious bonding tendencies for that. But even though you're theoretically looking to settle down, you don't settle long on one person. "Serial monogamist" is probably something you hear a lot. "Emotionally loose" is another way to put it. To the poor girls eating your dust and sniffing your panties, it doesn't really make much difference. Of course, it's not really your fault that people get hurt. You have every right to move on when you choose.

ALWAYS AVOID: The Intern, The Maid of Honor

CONSIDER: The Sudden Departure, someone just like you

Of course the reason I'm so fucked off about this is that they just might have a nugget of a nucleus of a thing, there. The bastards.
I blame wiffle wiffle, who tricked me into experiencing this horror.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:43 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 17 April 2004 3:06 PM BST
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drug free

Topic: Belle de Jour

And I wonder if anyone else at the greasy spoon cafe where I'm meeting Krystal in an effort to impose a sleep pattern can tell that I've not washed, not slept last night, that I was in the middle of watching Frida in bed with the sound turned down, and now I want to be inlove with Alfred Molina, that I've not combed my hair, which is a bloody mistake when there's that much Dax in it from last night's booze fest, that my mouth still tastes of last night's Thai even though I cleaned my teeth till they bled four damn times, that I've gained about a stone in the last month and my clothes feel all wrong, that my tits aren't usually this big, that my look of intense annoyance is because coming off the pills I've been taking makes you grind your teeth, as well as manic, insomniac and more than a little too introspective?
Is late spring too early to wear shades?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:02 AM BST
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Thursday, 15 April 2004


Now Playing: Nancy Sinatra: 'Bang Bang'
Topic: Lactose Incompetent

Remember the night I should have left you? The moon was full, the thick, impenetrable, enduring Nile was swirling darkly beneath us, the sky seemed wider than was possible.
And although the day had been warmer than a Christmas Eve should ever be, the night was cold enough to see your breath? You led me down below the railings, the deck furniture, the bright eyed quietly leering captain smoking silently in the corner of the cabin, down into the bowels of the ship.
You led me to believe you wanted me to.
Beyond the loud crassness of a holidaymaker's lounge with 'acts' put on to persuade us all we liked each other's company. Beyond the permanent attempts to perform, for baksheesh, for responses, for gratitude.
To a room where the only sight line was the window, the river bank, the black oily palms moving in the distance, and the moon reflected from the Nile's surface onto the ceiling above the bed.

You turned and looked at me. You gestured. You kissed me deeply, inhaled the perfume oils bartered for in the nostril distending filth of the souk of a port now left far behind.
You led me further towards you, waited till I gulped for your mouth again.
You pulled back. I leaned in.
You pulled away again.
I thought you were joking, this was part of a game to make me want you. Somewhere something slipped into the water with a small splash.

Bringing your arms up to my chest, you shoved.
You thrust me onto the floor, away, in fury, a snarl curling and distorting your features.
'Do you see? Do you like it? That's what it's like to be rejected. That's how it feels.'

You turned away from me, to the window where the pitch sky still seemed lighter than the dark terrors of the riverbank.
The ship moved slightly, the sickening lurches and shifts that take time to adjust to. You laughed, nastily.
Laughed at my shock. Laughed at how I still wanted you.

That was when I should have left you, you know?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:54 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 15 April 2004 6:00 PM BST
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That Girl Got Juice You Know

Now Playing: Dizzee Rascal vs Vitalic
Topic: Eurotrash

I have certain friends, who, when I talk to them, I grow. Growing as in becoming wiser. In the sense that I learn about myself, I understand more about the world, I work things out, and god knows it always takes me a long sodding time to work anything out. Everything I say to them gets reflected back, but wiser. Of course, this happens with all your friends, that's what truly good friends are for - but some people, it happens every single time we meet. They're Derby, Krystal, and mostly, Duch.
When Derby left London for good, I remember one of the last things she said to me was an instruction 'stay in touch with Krystal. She's growing faster than any of us.'
So, anyway, I now have nearly two and a half weeks of unblogged stuff I've been avoiding catching up on here (because for some reason I still want this place to be a diary for me before it dies, of what happened in the year that I blogged it all), not really having made sense of any of it.
I don't like it when I don't write in a diary style - without those moments, the blog feels like it's become a radio show, just so much babbling into the ether.
Last night I went and learnt ten tons about myself with Krystal, and a lot of things have clicked into place.
Bsides which, I blame her entirely for making me drink again, it wasn't as if I walked into the cafe, sank into the lumpy leather sofa and ordered the waiter to bring me a cocktail instantly, either. Oh no.

Will I stop procrastinating and write about what's happened to me lately? Or will I write some more crap about cooking chickens?

In the meantime, if you're not reading Countin Flowers today, up there in my top blogs section, you should be.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:54 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 15 April 2004 5:33 PM BST
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Wednesday, 14 April 2004

Whether You Like It or Not...

Now Playing: 21 Grams on repeat play . . .
Topic: Vic Jameson

I've been watching movies, and you're going to have to put up with me while I wax knowledgeable here.

21 Grams
I have a whole new crop of 'Oh yeah, who is that guy' moments, all from the one film. (don't knock it; previous members of this category include former supporting actors like Oscar winning Chris Cooper) The majestic 21 Grams, which I've been watching again and again, is not a patch on my favourite film of the century, Amores Perros, but is better plotted than Memento, better acted than Mystic River, better cinematography than Ali or City of God, and it contains a ton of those really great supporting actors whose moment hasn't yet come, may never come, but know how to actually act, as opposed to hogging the starlight.
Clea DuVall, the sexy butch one from 'But I'm a Cheerleader', Melissa Leo, the sexy butch one from Homicide (sensing a theme here?), a cameo from Danny Huston, whose marvellous lead turn in IvansXTC made it my best film of 02. There's minor roles also from great background actors like John Rubinstein (an old fave as evil lawyer Linwood from Angel), and British actor Eddie Marsan, who is in the crowd shots of absolutely every movie ever (oh I dunno, Gangs of New York, Gangster Number 1, This Year's Love, etc). Even the dreadful Sean Penn actually put in a powerful, restrained performance, in contrast to the shoddy sub-Pacino mugging of Mystic River.
Anyway, it's lovely. If you can, watch it twice. The opening shot, of Penn and Watts in bed, is beautifully framed, in a way that Sofia Coppola can only dream about.

The Godfather II
Easily my favourite of the trilogy. I love Coppola's direction of the opening and closing sequences of I, but the book Puzo wrote was about Michael, about how an all-American boy can travel so far from his identity to become a Sicilian crime lord, and this section of the trilogy focuses on that in a way the other two films don't quite achieve. Every shot of De Niro as the elder Corleone, building his empire in New York, contains a reference to the damnation that awaits Michael - the traders, the shots of money pinned to poles to honour the community festival, the religious reverence for the Madonna. Underestimated is Diane Keaton's portrayal of the American wife, Kay, the second best, the pale American imitation of the first wife, the emigre at sea in the Sicilian world. Caught between religion and feigning ignorance, she's a Lady Macbeth; when she understands the reason all the Corleone women spend their days in church is to pray for their husband's sins to be forgiven, her world splits, and she rejects the vision of America Michael is coming to represent. The pathos of the scene where Michael cuts first Freddy Corleone, then her from her family's life forever is beautifully done: his eyes betray his knowledge that his role imprisons him.
Coppola's finest feature here is in controlling his lead actors, though; Pacino and De Niro can be such terrible old hams, these days - was Al even awake during Scent of a Woman? - but he managed to draw incredibly miniaturised, understated, controlled performances from men who were at that time unknowns.
I'm biased; I had to read Puzo as background reading to studying Old English texts like the Battle of Maldon, Beowulf, Wulf and Eadwacer - and never forgot the tension in Michael's emergence as a mephistophelic force in the novels. I also first saw the trilogy all in one day, nicking the video box set from a flatmate and not emerging from the duvet on the sofa till the whole damn tale was told. Gorgeous.

Young Adam
This seems like a typical Scottish fart burner of a boring romp through the exciting nightlife of postwar barge living at first, until you realise its sources. It's based on a story by a Beat writer, Alexander Trocchi, the countercultural ideas-pusher behind sigma, "the smack addled icon of Beat literature", and once you know that, the sex every four minutes suddenly seems less of an excuse to show Ewan McGregor's increasingly generous arse, and more of a violent, intoxicated, murderous fuck you to the conservative society he wrote about never belonging to. Like both the films above, it veered deep into the territory of guilt: guilt at the monster you can unwittingly, carelessly become in life.

Now that I've confessed my obsessive poring over certain supporting actor's career histories, you just know I'm going to fuss excessively over Clifton Collins jr in this one, don't you?
It's refreshing to see a latino actor not imprisoned within the guido-gangster roles he had to make his name in (look him up on imdb and see how many of his roles adhere unerringly to monikers like Cesar, Loco, Nando, Nino, Ramon), and Clifton (formerly Clifton Gonzales Gonzales) sets the screen drippily awash with his teary eyed, badly written monologues on the idyll that is life as a smalltown butcher, but holds us still, eyes fixed on the screen through his group scenes when he transmits acerbically the fear and insecurity of anyone who's been promoted too early, of anyone stupid enough to assume their own merit then have it proven the hard way their position is merely fall guy.
Colin Farrell was why I watched the movie in the first place though (which overall, was an overdramatic hysterical pile of llama-toss); you have to support your European boys made good in Hollywood, after all. But mostly, I'm intrigued by him: he's blink and you'll miss it blandness personified in Minority Report, snoozing through a bigscreen role where the source material offered up the chance to brood and menace with much more impact. The Recruit (Pacino, again, ruining it again) was so bad I had to switch the thing off - a pretty rare move for me. But Phone Booth - amazing. Clearly more of a one-act play than a viable movie, he *held* it together in a way that most Hollywood product couldn't dream of. (And I swear his character reminds me of the real life Boz.)
Similarly, Tigerland shows someone in control of his material. What's with that? Why can't he just be always good or always shit? Or even mostly mediocre? I forgive Tom Cruise for it, after all.

The League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen [deliberately spaced]
Poor Alan Moore. What bullshit. Speaking of how Hollywood can ruin a young actor, pushing him into freefall in a shower of overpriced shit, what the fuck is the brilliant Stuart Townsend doing in this? Do they suck their brains out at the US border or something? He came from the disturbingly horrific Resurrection Man via shagging an ex supermodel, playing a fucking pixie, and now this? Sheesh.
Only remarkable for again proving what I know to be true about Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge's wicked Duke, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula in the upcoming Van Helsing) - he is genius, he is godlike, he needs to be the next Bond.
I'll brook no argument on that one.

Starring the impeccable Kate Beckinsale (who played the dominatrix in Cold Comfort Farm, also soon to show up in Van Helsing) in very very tight rubber. You don't need much other reason to watch this movie, but actually, she and her ex, the luminously talented Michael Sheen save the film. It's obviously informed by the eye of a comic book enthusiast, but its plot is twuntery to the point of effrontery.
Beckinsale and Sheen play it straight, deadly serious, though, to the last minute, and save the damn thing, make you cheer for it.
Oh, and Bill Nighy's a vampire. But then we always suspected he was, didn't we?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:15 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 April 2004 3:45 AM BST
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