June 12, 2007
Readings: High Windows
“He loved her, but he wanted to shake her awake, or slap her out of her straight-backed music-stand poise, her North Oxford proprieties, and make her see how really simple it was: here was boundless sensual freedom, theirs for the taking, even blessed by the vicar—with my body I thee worship—a dirty, joyous, bare-limbed freedom, which rose in his imagination like a vast airy cathedral, ruined perhaps, roofless, fan-vaulted to the skies, where they would weightlessly drift upward in a powerful embrace and have each other, drown each other in waves of breathless, mindless ecstasy. It was so simple! Why weren’t they up there now, instead of sitting here, bottled up with all the things they did not know how to say or dared not do?
“And what stood in their way? Their personalities and pasts, their ignorance and fear, timidity, squeamishness, lack of entitlement or experience or easy manners, then the tail end of a religious prohibition, their Englishness and class, and history itself. Nothing much at all.”
—Ian Mc Ewan, On Chesil Beach
June 03, 2007
Readings (As It Were): Selfishness
"I'm gonna bathe and shave
And dress myself, and eat solo every night.
Unplug the phone, sleep alone
Stay away out of sight.
Sure, it's kind of lonely,
Yeah, it's sort of sick:
Being your own one and only
Is a dirty selfish trick."
—Loudon Wainwright III, "One Man Guy"
And in case you hadn't heard, go see Knocked Up. Ol' Loudon has written the soundtrack. So go see it. Right now. Stop whatever you are doing (I know it can't be any damn use) and go see it. Make my job mean something.
I promise I'll post here more, if that means anything.
May 22, 2007
Ode to Me
On the occasion of my 26th birthday, a small something from the King:
So bloody good luck to you mate,
That you weren’t born too late
For at least a chance of happiness,
Before unchangeable crappiness
Spreads all over the land.
Be glad you’re fifty — and
That you got there while things were nice,
In a world worth looking at twice.
So here’s wishing you many more years, but not that many,
—Kingsley Amis, "Ode to Me"
March 22, 2007
"I have nothing to say about Star Wars. To the extent that I have written about movies, it has been because I felt there was enough of art (or the attempt at it) in some films to justify the effort – to justify the excitement I had felt in the dark. But there is nothing to be said about Star Wars because there is not enough in it: the fullest response is 'Wow!' or pressing the repeat button. It is, for good and ill, sensational. And I like sensations, like hot water on my back or salt on my tongue. But in recent times there are too many occasions when new films do not deserve the space or the paper it would take, let alone the effort. They defy critical response or verbal inquiry. They are beyond examination."
– David Thomson, The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood
February 27, 2007
"I thought of this while I drank some water, and then of other things which it suggested to me. As well as the private wash-day, tomorrow was inevitably going to be the time for holding a little private levee for guilt and anxiety and the rest of the old bunch. It wasn't so much doing what you wanted to do that was important, I ruminated, as wanting to do what you did. What about writing that down?"
-Kingsley Amis, That Uncertain Feeling
February 19, 2007
Readings: Johnny C
"Perhaps that was really what was bothering me. Wasn't I fussing too much, where in any case was the harm in a spot of the old adultery as long as you didn't take it too seriously, where was the sense of humour I was so keen on vaunting to myself, where was the Lewis who was superior to things like sex, wasn't I letting the ancestral Welsh nonconfrmist puritanism make a crafty comeback in me after all these years of discredit? It would be nice to lay one's troubles at the door of John Calvin, the noted French reformer and theologian. But it wouldn't really stand up, none of it would. Others might find my problem no more than a trigger for uncontrollable laughter but, nonconformism or no nonconformism, not me, not just laughter."
- Kingsley Amis, That Uncertain Feeling
February 05, 2007
"The last step, and the hardest to take, in assessing any comic writer, is to assert what should be an obvious truth, but one which always shyly hides: humour is not an overlay to seriousness. Humour is the thing itself, compressed and intensified into a civil code."
—Clive James, "Kingsley without the women," Times Literary Supplement