Friday, October 24, 2008

(& this is how I side-step actual blogging.)

& Another (old) bastardisation of Greek mythology, written in February 2007, a second-person re-telling of the story of Eros and Psyche.

& monsters under the bed

Your beauty was always a problem. There were always monsters under your bed and there was bugger all you could do about them. Your parents didn’t even try to help. You think they were spooked by your beauty too and, even though you were too old to die by exposure, they left you on a mountainside, all alone (with your matching luggage set and a .45). You hitched a ride and got hitched and you didn’t have a damn clue who you married because you were drunk on misery and tequila sunrises.

Your new home was a penthouse, high above everyone; it was just like the song that played on the jukebox in the seedy dive where you signed your marriage contract (love was lifting you up where you belonged).

You never actually saw him, your significant other. He was away during the day and always made love with the lights off. He used to joke about how, if you ever tried to see him, if you ever turned on a light or lit a candle (or even a bloody cigarette) in his presence, he would walk out on you. The funny thing was that it wasn’t really a joke and it scared you to think that he might offer you up to the monsters under your bed. That was why you never turned on the lights when you heard the rustling sound of wings at night or when you felt a draught (even though all the windows and doors were closed) or when you heard whispers in a language that was not your own.

You did not think that your own sisters were the monsters under your bed although you should have known. They were always such vindictive bitches because you were always so much more beautiful than them. It was their fault and their whispers in your ear that made you turn on the light and he left you because he didn’t believe in second chances or child support.

You talked to your mother-in-law and learned the true meaning of vindictive bitch. She was the one with the goddess complex and the lipstick-smeared martini glasses who always made you feel as though you were the worst thing that ever happened to her son and it was all because you were more beautiful than she was. She resented you for making all the guys crazy when you walked down the street in your miniskirt and high heels.

You didn’t want all the guys, though; you just wanted the one who deserted you when all you had done was turn on the light to ward off the monsters. You knew he was beautiful too, with dark, kohl-rimmed eyes and feather-soft kisses and strong arms.

You won him back, of course; you were stubborn that way and you made ground-rules, like counting to ten before losing your temper and leaving all the lights on and all the candles burning and pretending not to be home when your mother-in-law came to call.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Every year, for the past 26 years, I have forgotten to wish my cousin a happy birthday on his actual birthday. I am always one day late and I really do apologise.

Happy Birthday, Andy. Maybe I'll get it right next year? Anyway, I'll be catching up with you age-wise in a month or so. Do they hand out zimmer-frames when you're 27?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

&Ahahaha. I see my venture into public acknowledgment of my literary endeavours went largely unnoticed. Probably just as well but I suppose that now is the time to point out that November happens to be National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write 50 000 words between the 1st and the 30th of November and it is something I haven't managed to do. I've made three failed attempts but perhaps this year will be the year of sucess. It's one of those things that irks me, I have to say. Over the years, I've written tens of thousands of words. Pages and pages. A lot of it never sees the light of day. Some of it is posted here and there, under an assumed name (and wild horses won't get me to admit to where, so don't even try). Some of it is actually quite good. The story/novel(la) I intend to write for this year's NaNo is provisionally entitled Copper Alley and has nothing whatsoever to do with the street in Dublin or the café near Christchurch Cathedral. For the first time (at least, where NaNo is concerned), I'm writing something that might be called fantasy.

&I've started to re-read The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm only fifty pages in but, yes, it's grabbing me just as much as it did the first time I read it, over three years ago. If you haven't read it, do because this book is the very definition of original and excellent writing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And this is why I should not be allowed to play with the Classics

+So. Sometimes I write and do not blog. This is something I wrote about two and a half years ago and I've revisited it often. Warnings for strong language and implied naughtiness of various flavours.

+the wrath of achilles

Briseis looks so pretty on the cover of the crumpled magazine in the wastepaper bin, even with creases all over her, like old scars. She’s no Helen of Sparta but she has a glow all of her own. Agamemnon is ripped clean in two, with a beard and moustache of blue biro drawn on his face.

Achilles never knocks when he enters a room so Patroklos has learned not to knock either. Achilles is still asleep. If he was angry, rip-roaring force-of-nature furious, Patroklos would understand. Instead, he is childish and determined and on strike, a petulant protest at the world. He does not blame Briseis; the girl did not have a choice. Faced with blackmail and fear of exposure, Briseis swallowed her pride and has allowed herself to be seen on Agamemnon’s arm. If only she could have swallowed Achilles’ pride too.

It should not have surprised them that they were under surveillance, that the Atreides somehow knew about their arrangement (and they thought they were being so discreet). Patroklos misses those days, with Briseis and Achilles kissing on the living room couch; she would be wearing one of Achilles’ shirts and their legs would be entwined across the coffee table, between the overflowing ashtrays and empty whiskey bottles. There would be three pairs of jeans on the floor, tangled up like drunken dancers losing their balance, spinning out of control.

Every time Helen appeared on the television screen, with the sound turned down, Briseis would have to ask. “Do you think she’s pretty?”

“Mm, not as pretty as you,” Achilles would say, his lips pressed to her collarbone, devout and improbably innocent. “Really. Ask Patroklos,” he would add mischievously. “He dated her for a while.”

“Scurrilous lies,” Patroklos would say, wandering back in from the kitchen, eating corn flakes straight from the box. “I wasn’t rich enough to date her.” (And he wasn’t.)

Patroklos misses those easy days with an ache; they can never be comfortable again. Now the empty whiskey bottles surround Achilles’ bed, and the overflowing ashtrays, and the girls’ faces are never the same. There are people dying still and Odysseus’ protection racket can only go so far. Achilles will not lift a finger to help Agamamnon now and where would Patroklos be but in Achilles’ bedroom, opening the curtains wide, letting the sunlight splash onto Achilles’ bed? Between rise and shine, you lazy bastard and fuck off, you miserable wanker, Patroklos bullies Achilles into the shower and brushes his damp-darkened hair off his shoulder and presses his lips to Achilles’ skin. He knows he can’t make it better, not when he misses Briseis too, and he knows that their every movement is probably being watched, because Achilles is the unknown quantity.

Stubborn hero, Patroklos sighs. The bathroom tiles are smeared with condensation and handprints that will fade long before Achilles’ anger subsides. Stubborn, foolish hero.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

(don't you put me on the back-burner)

& I'm trying to tidy my room. I've said this every other day since I moved into this apartment (almost a year ago). It's at that stage - you know the one - worse before it gets better? I may never get out of this mess alive.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harold Pinter and Cheese

& I am such a bad, bad blogger and I can only apologise. Every time I post, I solemnly swear that I'll do better next time and then next time is about three months later. (Hyperbole for the complete and utter win!)

& Anyway, last Monday, I went to see No Man's Land, the production of Harold Pinter's play currently running at the Gate Theatre, starring Michael Gambon, David Bradley, Nick Dunning and David Walliams. Audiences at the Gate Theatre always seem as though they should be jam-packed full of famous faces (indeed, at a play last year, Nick Dunning was in the audience and, afterwards, updated us on the Arsenal result that evening). Last Monday, Matt Lucas was present, which was an excitement all of its own. But back to the play. The acting was superb. Obviously, Michael Gambon, as all the reviews stated, was marvellous. I have to say though, that I was blown away by David Bradley. It's a very sinister play (yes, yes, I know. Pinter) in places but quite light-hearted in the second act (and I was informed that it smacks of Beckett by people who know about this kind of thing).

& Cheese. In a recent comment from my cousin, I started wondering about the true definition of cheese. In my opinion, cheese is very earnest music, with big hair and fluorescent pink leg-warmers, and, preferably, pre-dates the 90s (although I will allow that the 90s did offer us some cheese). It should be most ideally experienced by singing along (into a hairbrush). Examples of 'my' definition of cheese include: I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight (The Cutting Crew), If You Leave Me Now (Chicago), Alone (Heart) and so on and so forth. Opinions?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

& I'm really sorry, honest. This serious blogging is all well and good when I can motivate myself to do it. [I mean, my brain sort of works in blog posts? Yet when it comes to typing them up, I get distracted and wander off and before I know it, it's three weeks later.]

& Anyway, my dear cousin has tagged me to do a meme. A meme of six things that make me happy. Let's all remember that I'm really terribly fickle, so if I were to do this meme next week, my answers might be entirely different.

Things I Like. Yo.
(in no particular order)

i. Jon McLaughlin.
Singer-songwrighter-pianist from Indiana. I've been listening to his music obsessively-and-on-repeat for a while now. Also, he's pretty.
No. Really, really pretty. Not well-known in Ireland at all although he did perform at this year's Oscars (a song from Enchanted). Of course, that's not going to mean very much to the Irish audience, given that the show was most convincingly thieved by Glen Hansard and the wonderful Marketa Irglova but this guy writes some rather sweet songs and is pretty awesome on the piano and there is something heartening about knowing that people still write songs like Perfect (& in my life if i can have one thing i don't deserve/then i have never wanted anybody else but her).

ii. Saturday mornings.
Which is funny, given that I try to sleep right on through Saturday mornings if at all possible. I very rarely have to work on a Saturday which is rather wonderful. Occasionally, I manage to crawl out of bed and even make it to the shop to buy the Guardian and bacon and eggs. (Note: I do change out of my pyjamas in order to go to the shop but sometimes, I'm in the minority down at Spar.)

iii. DVD Boxsets.
It's OK! I will narrow this down. A bit. While working as a junior doctor, I very rarely had the time to watch television at normal person hours. I might occasionally catch a late night repeat of Battlestar Galactica or Heroes but that would be about the height of my consistency of viewing. So, I began to invest in boxsets (and this is where Saturday mornings come in handy). I'm one of those people who can quite happily sit down and watch episode after episode of a given TV show. Once, I watched the entire third series of The Mighty Boosh in one sitting. The next morning, I woke up with an actual hangover, no joke.

iv. Neil Gaiman.
My favourite author (and anyone who knows me, knows how much I love reading and having and owning books, so this is big, man). Mr Gaiman is reason I read - nay, purchased - graphic novels, in the form of Sandman because I figured that if he wrote them, they must be worth a look (they are). I think I was first introduced to his writing by way of a recommendation. American Gods is an incredible novel with incredible scope and if you haven't read it ... why the hell not? I have countless new books I haven't actually read yet but I know that I will re-read American Gods, Stardust, Sandman, &c many, many times before I get around to reading some books for the first time.

v. Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato.
OK, so I'm a sell-out. But there's something about this particular coffee that reminds me of summertime (and given what Irish summers have amounted to in recent years, that's no mean feat). Also, that much caffeine and that much refined sugar do wonderful things for my energy levels and I can conduct conversations at a much higher rate than usual!

vi. Manuel Almunia, Francesc Fabregas & Theo Walcott.
Yeah, I know that there are three parts to vi. but these three guys can come under the umbrella of the three Arsenal players for whom I have any emotional attachment. Sorry, that should be the only three Arsenal players for whom I have any emotional attachment.

& I swear I'll try to update more often. I still have movies and plays to review and I'm going to see No Man's Land at the Gate Theatre next week. Oh, what a life I lead.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time sort of got away from me there.

& aw, man. Where did those two-and-a-bit weeks go? I totally meant to blog, like, every other day. I've to ramble about 3 movies (one of which does include The Dark Knight, so my esteemed first cousin can stop mocking me now, OK?) and a play, but it's 12.30am and I have to work tomorrow.

& it sort of occurred to me today that I don't measure the time it takes to walk to work in actual minutes. I count it in songs. Currently, I listen to a particular playlist on my iPod (a playlist imaginatively entitled august oh-eight). I hit play when I leave my apartment and I get through Jon McLaughlin's Beating My Heart, Ryan Adams' Touch, Feel & Lose, REM's Near Wild Heaven, The Killers' When You Were Young and the first half of Leonard Cohen's Anthem. Well, I thought it was an interesting observation (and sometimes I want the journey to be longer so I can listen to more songs).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

& two nights running. Hold the phone.

& I'm just back from going to the cinema. I've heard tell that there's a movie called The Dark Knight doing the rounds, not to mention a little film called Mamma Mia! and I do want to see both of them, honestly (although possibly not in that order, oy). No, today, I saw Summer Hours, and I'm not sure what I thought of it. Not much happens which, in itself, isn't a flaw. The plot, such that it is, revolves around a family of three grown-up children and their mother's estate. There's an element of intrigue, involving the relationship between their recently-deceased mother and her uncle, a renowned painter but it's really just alluded to.

The acting was rather good - Juliette Binoche and Charles Berling were impressive, as was Isabelle Sadoyen, as the elderly housekeeper. It's the biggest role in which I've seen Jérémie Renier and he was convincing as the youngest brother. I'm debating as to whether to mention that he's exceptionally good-looking but that might make me seem superficial.

Hey. Wait.

Nevertheless, I left the movie feeling unfulfilled. I'm not entirely sure what sort of point the movie was trying to make. There's a scene, towards the end, when the youngest generation have a party in the old house and it felt a little bit like the party scene in Love in Thoughts, but generations and leagues away.

& it just occurred to me that I'm wearing Blogger hoodie while typing this. Ooh. See what I did there?

Monday, July 28, 2008

& I just ate half a tub of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream. The one with the ickle white chocolate polar bears in it? The environmentally friendly sort? The sort that's going to make me fat if I continue to imbibe it at this rate.

& I watched Stardust (2007) yesterday. I love that movie and not least because it's based on a novel by one of my very favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. It has some scenery-chewing turns by the likes of Robert De Niro, Peter O'Toole and Michelle Pfeiffer, a Who's Who? of British television actors (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Nathaniel Parker, Mark Williams, David Walliams, Ricky Gervais), our very own David Kelly, as well as some beautiful young things, Ben Barnes, Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Henry Cavill and Sienna Miller (all of whom also act). It's a charming movie, based on a charming book, with a Take That song on the soundtrack and I am easily pleased. Watching it, though, I couldn't help but notice that every fantasy looks a little bit Lord of the Rings. At first, I just assumed it was because everyone's decided to start filming in New Zealand, but apparently not? (Who knew that Hertfordshire could look so vast?). Looking back on it, even The Princess Bride (1987) looks a little bit LotR and it was filmed in the Burren. King Arthur (2004) is another impressive-looking movie but, to the best of my knowledge, Wicklow doesn't actually look like that in real life (with neither the snow or the women wearing strips of leather and blue face paint).

& I still don't know what the hell I'm doing here but I'm off to an OK start.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

[shuffling feet]

-if patroklos was a popstar? (A line from some writing that meant something once and means something else now)

& yet another attempt to indulge in a spot of grown-up blogging. Hopefully, this one won't be like those diaries I tried to keep as a youngster. There would be a flurry of activity. I would be obsessive in my writing for a month (or more, or less) and my interest would gradually wane. The only long-term commitment I've ever had to a diary has been my secure, not-open-to-the-public LiveJournal but that is a story for another time.

& I have half an idea that I'll blog about books I've read (except I have no time to read) or movies that I've seen (but I've an appalling taste in films) or music that I like. I may even write about writing (it's one of those things I pretend I don't do).

& it will be watch this space.