happy birthday, Kate!
Here we are, on this magic date - barely home from our very first KBF Gathering in Shadowland.
Am still feeling bamaboozled by the weekend heatwave and seafog that has forced us to stagnate in Granite City [Aberdeen] for a further two days... all is feeling in slow motion.
A few messages here and there on our Forum in an attempt to catch up with our [KBF] world... Discovering [better late than never!] Matt's fabulous blog & pics... your own pix... wowowowowow!!!
It felt like a dream.
Meeting you all was magical enough - sharing with you was bliss!
What a wonderful group we are. I shan't ever forget your smiles, hugs and eyes.
You were ALL IN MY HEART throughout the weekend.
More later, for am still processing pix ;)
OK I really haven't done blogs before or massively get what bloggings about but thought I might use my blog to talk a bit about what's happening in my life at the moment.
I know sometimes when I've previously been through something traumatic or had a big emotional upheaval I do get something out of writing my feelings down and reading it back. I once wrote a letter to Chris when we temporarily split some time ago but I had no intention of sending it to him I just wanted to put in down on paper and get it out there.
Anyway I'm not massively emotional or upset at the moment, it sort of comes and goes and the situation has been SO much bleaker than it is now but I just thought I'd let you know about the family tragedy that brought me home to Bath.
On the 5th of June my Dad was in a very serious accident, he's a builder by trade and at the time he was working with a couple of colleagues when he got hit over the head with the bucket of a digger. This wasn't known to us at the time and the two colleagues that he was working with (who may or may not have had insurance) decided to tell everyone that our Dad had just collapsed while talking to one of them.
The first week was awful, I traveled down immediately and I was never really sure if my Dad was going to last the train trip from Brighton. The hospital couldn't understand why Dad had passed out or had a nasty graze on the top of his head. First they thought a stroke, possibly low blood pressure could have played a part and they then told us they thought he was brain damaged and may not recover. For three days Dad couldn't breath without the ventilator and it was only on day three that they decided they might x-ray the top of his spinal cord(I don't understand the delay myself). This is when they found that Dad had sustained severe damage to the top of his spinal cord. The Doctor called it Central Cord Syndrome and the X-ray showed a disc from his spine compressing the top of the spinal cord. They still couldn't really explain how this may have been caused by just passing out as this injury is caused by an impact to the spine. The Doctor suggested that this was an old injury and that Dad passing out may have note been related to this but in falling down he may have pushed the disc that bit further into the spinal cord.
Dad was then rushed to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol to have the disc removed and the neck supported by a wire frame work. The operation went well but with this sort of injury nobody can tell us how Dad will recover or what movement he'll get back. This sort of spinal compression effects all movement and nobody really wants to tell you what movement may or may not come back. After the operation our Dad was sent back to the royal united hospital in Bath for recovery. When he came round he had a tracheotomy fitted so couldn't talk for a while and it wasn't until week three when the tracheotomy came out that we actually discovered the truth of the accident. The two guys are still denying it and making Dad out to be a liar but they've told two different versions of the accident already and Dad is so clear in what happened. My Dad is the sort of man that doesn't want to get anyone in trouble though so was really reluctant to make anything of it, although we have now got a solicitor involved.
The situation now is so much brighter than it has been, Dad's still at the RUH and has recovered some movement in his arms, hands and legs and is making some awesome progress. He's working with a brilliant physio who works really well in pushing him and has even given us some exercises we can do with him. It actually feels really good that we can take a more active part in Dad's recovery and apart from the gathering I've been up the hospital daily to do this, hence coming from Bath not Brighton. Dad's also on the waiting list to go to Odstock's hospital in Salisbury which is a more specialist hospital so it's just a matter of waiting for a bed to become available.
I can't believe what a determined man my Dad is, I'm so massively proud of him and am going to be gutted to leave him but I'm going back to Brighton on Friday and then back to work on Wednesday.
It's funny but through all this we've still been a family that can laugh and that's been so valuable, it sounds weird to say it but even when we had to spend days on end in ITU we managed to have the occasional giggle. Also the whole family has been fantastic, Dad has two brothers and a sister and I've never been as close to them now since I was a little child. While I've been here I've been to my Aunts graduation and my cousins wedding, neither would have happened had I been in Brighton.
Anyway sorry for going on so, I didn't mean to write this much but once I started I just couldn't stop.
So here we are Monday morning SWELTERINGLY hot, I am sitting in the foyer of Oxford station waiting for my train. I have been drinking water constantly since I woke but I am still feeling incredibly dehydrated as my clothes – supposedly made to cope with these kind of conditions are just plastered to me – nice! Everywhere around me, people are huffing and puffing whilst wearing the minimal amount possible. Mugins here however, has an enormous heavy case, a photo backpack that weighs a ton and laptop bag crammed with stuff to cart about. I’m doing something wrong aren’t I? Apparently, whilst I have been in Kate Bush Gathering mode, and therefore cut off from the world’s media, the country has decided, according to my paper, that Gordon Brown is rubbish as prime minister. I can only guess that this is because the country is in such an awful state. It is, and Oxfords transport and refuge systems are great examples of this, but it is hardly poor old Gordon’s fault is it? Maybe it’s just me then.
Spent a very enjoyable night in Quod – bar/restaurant type of place – in the high street , about 2 mins walk from the Vaults and Gardens where we where earlier in the day. I met up with an old school friend and his wife. I hadn’t seen him for thirty years but it really didn’t seem so at all. It is amazing how so much changes over the years and yet quintessentially, we are the same people. We had loads to catch up on and as we unfolded our life stories to each other in this great centre of learning, we traced back as to how we had arrived in the same Oxford restaurant at the same time in history. It became apparent that none of us had arrived where we are today through any great learning and academia, but rather, just by being the people that we are, meeting the right people at the right time, being unselfish, and working hard. It was truly refreshing that people with this outlook on life had received the rewards that they deserved. A meal in company such as this is more inspiring than all the beautiful architecture and libraries that surrounded us.
There seemed to be a bit of confusion regarding the start time of our picnic, about half of the people turned up at one o'clock when it started, and the other half turned up at two o'clock. This presented some problems as the ones who were there on time wanted to get off and do some sight-seeing – or cheese tracking. The staff at the Vaults were brilliant and put out loads of tables joined together for us and we actually did get people together at about quarter past two to have a chat with Venus who rang us and chatted to us all individually – apparently, she has lots of free minutes – or did have. Then we all had some excellent food and did some photos before the early sitting started to leave. It was then that someone remembered that I hadn't got Kate's card out to sign. I had to run off after them, but fortunately, they had not gone far. They came back and we all signed the card, which this year, in accordance with the Oxford theme, had Kate dressed as a student, see picture if I remember to take one later. After the eager-to-leaves had gone, I played a song that Lissa had recorded specially for Kate's birthday the night before. She has done a version of "The Kick Inside" which I think she now has on her My Space page. With that, we all went off to join the others at the secret pub where we had good bear in good company and planned next year's event.
It was generally agreed that next year we will rent a large house for the weekend, which we are all really excited about. Stay tuned to the forum as we will have to book it soon and places in the house will be at a premium, although we are also looking for somewhere where we can accommodate camping too.
Thanks to everyone who came this year, it was wonderful to spend time with so many lovely people, let's see how many I can remember: Mike H, Tadge, Coops, Monkey Man, Darkly Noon, Tegan, Blurbvurt, Anders, Chemode, the Punki twins, Fats, a guy from the USA who's name I couldn't hear properly - sorry, Sam Guberman, Dave Hall, Nat Hall, Smill, Sharon, Syl, and Connie who joined us for the Friday night meal. Did I miss anyone? It's all a bit of a haze. The 2008 UK Kate Bush Fan Gathering rocked – here's to 2009. B)
OK, have to do a very brief blog entry today as we are short of time. I have posted just a few images to let you see what we've been up to. The tour was terrific but sweltering – ugh, I hate the sun – well, it hates me anyway. The lady guiding us had extensive knowledge of Phillip Pullman and his work and she took us to many places of interest. A few of us just couldn't stay the pace of two hours in the sun and by the time we got to the Magdalen Collage part of the tour only seven of us wanted to continue. We were running late, so I could only manage the briefest of tours around the college. However, we did manage to see where the choir sing, which was perhaps where they were recorded for Lyra. I am really suffering from dehydration this morning, drinking as much water as I can.
Last night at the Jericho seemed to go down well, nice natured crowd and wonderful performances from Dave Hall, Simon, Paul, Nat, The Vogueabonds, and Lucy, AKA, Fake Bush. Lucy and her friends had done SO much work rehearsing special songs and arrangements for us and it showed – Lucy we were so honoured that you did this for us you are a gem and anybody who has not seen you has something to put on their list of things that they must do before they die. Rest assured my dear, you will be invited back... :D Anders has a sound recording and video of the event, which may surface depending on whether the artists agree or not. I think everyone enjoyed themselves – they seemed to. I had the chance to press flesh with a good number of people I had not met before – thank you all for coming; it was wonderful to be in the same room as you guys. Sharing an appreciation of Kate's work with other fans is what we are all about and it is fantastic when we can do something like this. I am sure many new friendships were made. I'm sure many people will post on the forum about their experiences, so that will be fun to read in the next few days.
Oh well, off to brave the sun again now at the Vaults and Gardens, where we will have an offering Lissa has just sent us, and a birthday card to send to Kate.
Just sitting here, in the conservatory of my guesthouse post breakfast but whilst Anders takes a post breakfast nap. Last night was quool, met up with Mike, Connie, Syl, the Punki brothers, Chemode, Darkly Noon, Coops, and Monkey Man for a really good curry at Chutney’s. Chutney’s is a non-pretentious place, but the food is excellent and so is the service. Anders and I where second to arrive, Syl had beaten us, and as we had not met before I wasn’t sure who she was and plumped for Darkly Noon – Oops. Coops rang to let us know that they would be 10 mins late, and once I had got the restaurant manager to phone Hannes, he was able to give his party directions, which soon found them joining us. Everyone got along well, some meeting for the first time, some old friends, and some of us veterans by now.
After the meal, we all went in search of the Secret Pub, which I managed to lead us to, with a slight detour. Not everyone went to the pub, Syl and Connie dropped out, but those of us who did make it had a drink and a chat before disappearing to our accommodation. Coops handed over a devious set of questions for the quiz, thanks Coops, you put a lot of hard work into them, and you’ve done us proud!
Do you know what? Kate fans are a really great friendly bunch – this is going to be fun!
I am preparing myself for the tour this afternoon and trying not to think about tonight too hard. Hope the tour is as good as yesterday’s.
I’ve tried to create a gallery in my blog for pictures from last night – no names, see if you can work them out.
Rang up the taxi firm again and got a “that will be at least three quarters of an hour”. Fortunately, the nice stand-in landlord offered me a lift as he was going into town – to get something for my breakfast hopefully. J
Got into town and tried to find the tourist information office. Asked a couple of people who got me to the opposite end of town between them, actually, the first kid had given me the correct directions, then an older bloke sent me back where I had come form – only for me to have to walk back again! Anyway, got to the Tourist Information Office and went on my official tour. The guide was fabulous, a very nice mature lady who knew her stuff. She took us round many of the colleges and sights – beautiful architecture. That lasted two hours, and then she pointed us towards the river for lunch. I had lunch at “The Head of the River” outdoors. Very good food and beer, good place. Whilst I was there, I had a phone conversation with Blurb and then, shortly after, Anders rang. Anders had just arrived, so I told him where I was and he found me. We did lunch together and then we went to Christchurch College to see the dining room and staircase used in the first Harry Potter film. (OK, we didn’t just go for that.) When we had finished there, we went on a quick sightseeing tour of Oxford and I revealed the pub that I had been at the night before, where, naturally, we had a pint. Then it was back to the guesthouse via taxi to get ready to meet the others coming tonight and prepare for our meal at Chutney’s later.
Just off to have a shower now. I have posted a very small sample of some pics I took today.
People leave broken Bicycles all over Oxford - It's quite charming really :)
We called in to see Harry
He invited us for a meal
This is Anders feeling all "Pink Floyd"
Our Secret Pub
25 July 2008
Matt's Zodiac Forecast, from Jonathan Cainer
Gifts and presents make a fine example. We want them to be pristine. If the box or the packaging is battered, we feel that it does not make an appropriate offering - even though we know that within moments of handing it over those bits of card and plastic will be consigned to the rubbish. We want the wrapping paper to look right too, yet it is the very first thing to be removed and discarded. This weekend, you must be careful that you don't value presentation more highly than content.
Just had breakfast – despite me choosing this place because they claimed to be able to cope with different diets, and, having emailed them to remind them that I am Vegan, the guy who is looking after the place had forgotten to get any soya or plant milk, and hadn’t got any veggie sausages either. So while he went out to get some soya milk he left me sitting there without any juice or coffee. He is the relief manager and he’s a really nice bloke actually – he’s a bit of a thesp and keeps bursting out in songs from the shows. Because of that, he got behind with everyone else’s breakfast. The award-winning landlady is away in Spain apparently.
Off to explore Oxford today, I have a tour starting at eleven a.m. and shall consult my guidebooks too. Wouldn’t mind finding “The Alice Shop”, which, in view of Lewis Carroll being a Professor at Christchurch, sells Alice in Wonderland stuff.
Oxford is Quool – once you get there – I’m off in search of some decent coffee now, hope to catch you later. :)
Just back from Oxford (Where I am staying is outside Oxford by quite a bit which is a bit of a bind to say the least – it's costing me a fortune in Taxis. By the way, it's hard to get taxis here, I phoned one to go, and the guy said he couldn't do it for half an hour. (When I phoned from the restaurant later, they said they couldn't do it at all – the restaurant staff got me one.)
When I got to the Indian Restaurant, it wasn't there – this after me ringing them first to check they had a space for me. It turned out that the restaurant had been converted into a kebab shop – so much for rave reviews then – but had kept the old phone number, and as they had seats inside, they assumed I meant them. Anyway, I asked them for a recommendation for an Indian Restaurant and they sent me to one called "4500 Miles from Deli" Which was modern, but very good service and good food too.
After a meal there, I went to Carfax to meet my friend. He then gave me a brief tour of the city – it's stunning! It's amazing how compact it is generally. Breathtaking buildings, great people, most of whom speak foreign fluently, because they are tourists – no students here at this time of year. We then went to a secret pub, which is simply brilliant – I'm going to take you there if I can find it again – the perfect pub! Low wood beams, Real Ale, beer gardens – need I say more?
My friend took me to The East Oxford Community Centre where "Catwhezal" was happening. Catwheezle has been going for 25 years – it is an acoustic evening, where people get up and play songs, read poetry, or tell stories and it takes place every Thursday evening. They have a website I believe. They even publicised our gig on Saturday for us. Good atmosphere.
Note: Oxford is full of people on bikes who ride around at night without lights – which makes them even more of a nuisance than in the daytime.
Night, night, everyone.
Theres a Secret Down There
So, here we are in Oxford for the 2008 UK Kate Bush Fan Gathering.
The story so far...
I overslept this morning and didn’t wake until 9 am. This Meant I had a huge rush to get myself ready and get all my gear packed. Last night I went out for a meal to celebrate a friend’s birthday and was talking to another friend when I remembered that his brother now lives in Oxford, so I rang him first thing. Turns out, he is well up for it for coming to the gig on Saturday, and he has invited me out tonight to a local pub that has an acoustic music night and poetry recital on a Thursday night! How quool is that? Anyroadup, I digress, so there I am packing my suitcase, a HUGE one, and realising that I am going to have to take my photo gear backpack and my Laptop case too, when the doorbell rings and it’s Tegan, bless her, come to pick up loads of posters that I have cobbled together. So they, hopefully, will be arriving for the gig with Tegan and Blurb.
Travelled down by train, first train was London-Midland – no complimentary food or drink in first class and not exactly “plush” either, no idea how they can call this first class – just glad I wasn’t in standard! Second leg was with Cross Country trains, freebie food and drink, if only sandwiches, but no Vegan option for food, so completely useless. Travelling by train is a complete rip-off, but still the best way to travel if they could only get it right.
Arrived at Gables Guest house, nice, clean, and tidy, but my room is minute. I’ve been in bigger cupboards. Can’t even open the door properly because my suitcase is in the way – the only place I can put it. L Took a while but finally got the Wi-Fi Internet connection going.
Just been reading Benedict le Vay’s “Eccentric Oxford” on the train and it recommends loads of places to go. So, this evening I hope to go to Samad’s Indian Restaurant, which gets rave reviews – so how can I resist that one? Moreover, I want to find The Turf Tavern, which is apparently, a brilliant, very old, Real Ale pub that was the setting for a Thomas Hardy novel where Jude in the book courts Arabella the barmaid. Its apparently Oxford’s worst kept secret, but is very hard to find. However, Bob Hawke, and more recently, Bill Clinton both managed it apparently. Bob Hawke downed a yard of ale (two and a half pints) in 11 seconds. It doesn’t say what Bill Clinton did, other than he didn’t inhale it. In addition, I have to fit all this in before I meet my friend at 8pm. Busy, busy, peeps. You really ought to be here you know...
Realized I've started talking to myself,
and It's never complimentary.
Avoiding mirrors again.
Can't stand the looks
"There's less to me than meets the eye" I read that somewhere and thought that's me - I'm disappearing at a rate of noughts. I'm like that tree falling in the forest when no ones there, I'm nothing at all. Unmoving and unmoved, I sit empty for days hoping somebody might call by before I vanish.
It's harder and harder to do anything at all. I see it all tumbling in around me, I see the slow decay of everything around me and all I can do is watch it happen. It's not that I can't change some of it - it's just, I can't see that changing any of it will change me. I do something and it's done but nothing feels any different, there's no one to share it with, there's no one to do it for and I don't think I care enough about me to try to make things better.
I know it's wrong - but I just can't function on my own. It's always had to be for someone else. I don't see the point in me for me alone. I don't make me happy.... and I guess I'm not very good at making other people happy or I wouldn't be on my own now.
My cat is very old, well quite old - he has that baggy look that old cats get, and seems to have shrunk in the last 2 years.
He used to be quite butch.................. the strong and silent type. In fact we used to comment on his silence. he never said a word, even when we opened a tin of tuna, he never said a word, he would just skip on his front paws from one to the other, in a Homer Simpson kinda way!
He has never voluntarily even once sat on our either of our laps.
He has stared at our laps - but no amount of coaxing, tickling, lap-patting, dragging, whistling or tail pulling has ever convinced him that 'the lap' is the place to be.
He would never share the couch with either one of us but would sit on the other side of the room, staring intently for hours, glad to be in the same room but unreachable..................... he would stare and study and calculate - calculate the exact length of our arms within a millimetre, then he would wait till we were too stoned to move before strolling across the room and sitting at the exact distance of 'arms length' away plus 1mm, so no matter how much stretching those arms did the nail tip of the middle-finger would still inconceivably be a millimetre away from the very tip of his nose!
Now he is old he still knows the length of our arms, but will sometimes sit beside us on a couch so long as we don't pester him with anything so irritating as affection.
Now he is old, he has found his voice, my God! it was so cute when he first started, so tiny and 'girly' it really took us by surprise, him being so butch and sounding like a girl?? But now he won't shut up and it's getting louder,
He always has food down, but he shouts when he's hungry.
He has his own indoor water fountain, but he shouts when he's thirsty.
When he sees something interesting like a slightly open cupboard door - he starts shouting.
When he's bored - he shouts
When he wants to go to bed - he shouts
When he wants us to go to bed - he shouts!
He is driving us bonkers these days, as we try to keep up to his every request second guessing what might make him happy, trying to judge when a cuddle 'might' be appropriate ............... and still after all these years, he refuses resolutely to venture voluntarily onto our laps.
Something quite awful must have happened to Sam before he found us ........ something to do with someones lap.
Poor Sam, he never did sit on our laps. Although when we brought his little body home from the vets, Ken sat for a long time with him on his lap.
Still missing him.
Miss you Sam xxx
Feeling lost today. Woke up early, stared at the ceiling for several hours, trying to think of a reason to get out of bed... thirsty? ... ignore it. Hungry? ..... too fat anyway - ignore it. Lonely? ... ppfft - like that's gonna change.
Am feeling again a bit like I've stepped back, somehow out of reach again, all the old insecurities are gathering around, pushing for attention, I do my best to ignore them, but they're winning this morning - I tried to visualise 3 doors to lock the worst culprits away. I put them in there and closed the doors behind them but knew the whole time they shouldn't stay there, it doesn't help to ignore, not in the long term. I think I'm setting myself up for something really bad ... but for some reason can't seem to stop myself.
Got a list of 'help' groups the other day whilst at the doctors, they're still in my bag. Thing about that is.... whilst they stay in my bag they are this little possibility of something better, and without possibilities - where's the sense? Am I really ready to discover this is as good as it gets? f*** that.
.... I have this ... interest - this optimistic, charming, seemingly 'nice' guy ......but the nicer he gets, the more scared I get. This isn't a love affair - I know that much, and something casual should be the least scary thing but I'm petrified ... always the fear - what does he really want? ... I don't mean all that teenage stuff - "oh he only wants one thing!!!" I can cope with the 'one thing' ... but I always have this feeling of something ultimately dark and foreboding just hiding under the surface - waiting to ....WHAT???
I feel like I'm disintegrating and have been for years ............ even staring at the ceiling I feel like I'm rushing headlong to obliteration losing little bits of me along the way. Something has attached itself to me. Gleefully amused at my predicament, it knows my end and throws the question at me constantly - "Could this be it?" then sits back and watches me react.
Time is unto itself as grammar to language; I sat in a candlelit cafe reading the woes of war in verse and thinking form, when suddenly a sentence in time, some mantra I've been saying for a cosmically long stretch, came to its end and the mantra collapsed under its emphatic conclusion. I was exposed to all the things that mantra mantle had been meant to hold at bay and a moment of total honesty encircled me in the dark. For a second I cried like I'd forgotten I could and it was aweful.
Nothing has changed.
...is worth two in the bush, said Basil Fawlty (or something similar). The point is, his head injury put him in a liminal presence of mind, like those slot machines with the three picture wheels, and you pull the lever and the pictures spin and then may or may not line up--his pictures weren't lined up properly. This provided him the unique opportunity of escaping the logical confines of language...which now I think of it is sort of redundant--logic and logos are after all one and the same...ish--which as often as not provides us, the listener, with delightful, surprising new ideas that we certainly never would have thought of.
Yes, I am writing this at 6.24 in the morning. That's nothing. I've been up since the claw in the head at 3.41. I did try to go back to sleep, I only went to bed at midnight after all, but that was it--awake. But not like, I'm all well-rested and in my right mind awake. Noooo. It was, it's 3 a.m. and I have had little sleep and I've just had a claw in my head, it's the middle of the night and I can hear strange noises. That's what it was. And that's when the ideas started coming. Reason started to creep in at some point, it said "go back to sleep, you can write down these ideas tomorrow, when you have rested". Well. Fat lot it knows anyway. I know how that scenario plays out, it happened yesterday when I had some brilliant formulation, perfect, just what I needed, and I was walking somewhere and then I had to go someplace and thought, o, I'll write it later.
And promptly forgot it.
So when the idea came back at 3.50, I had to act!
Why am I writing any of this? At 6.30, or at any time?
Because the last idea I had before I started writing this was the revelation that came down from two colliding synapses in my brain, one thinking, I'm sleep-deprived, and the other remembering the report I heard on the radio yesterday about how "we" function less-well because most of "us" are sleep-deprived, and that we don't know how sleep-deprived we are, and that in American society it's become a badge of honor not to get much sleep, because we get so much done and are so super-productive, and really we are all just fooling ourselves, we'd be doing so much better, probably, if we slept more.
Well, public radio lady and others, I would just like to say that I have nothing against sleep. But sometimes, you have to be functioning at super-warped-sleepless to come up with that brilliant idea, the one just outside the box, where my spinning fruit is mis-aligned.
And now I'm going back to bed.
I've just returned from seeing "The Golden Compass." I feel the desire to write a review. Not an in-depth one, as I've seen it but once and I've not read the books, but it raised some questions and thoughts in me.
Or rather, it raised nothing but questions, in such a way that I found myself unable to come to any final decision on anything. And I am no longer certain whether that is good or bad. Is this the future of film narrative? That's what it all comes down to.
Granted, I am aware, vaguely, of all the hoo-ha surrounding the author and his religious proclivities, and I can see where all that comes from. It took me all of two minutes to establish the range of historical links between the institution of higher education as the post-scholastic, early-modern model of "atheist" (in the sense of Bacon) inquiry versus the nexus of anti-intellectual establishments who operate under the reformed-sinner mantle of "helping" the future (running the gamut from crusty church father figures to jack-booted National Socialists), and the metaphor of soul/free will embodied in the Daemon (the efficacy of which metaphor I think we could debate for...centuries, probably, which ultimately is a good thing, I think). And that was where my first question arose. No sooner were the likes of Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lee seated in down-right early Christian counsel than I thought, can we ever tell a new story again? This story is so old, I feel like I am going to spend the next two hours measuring the trajectory of the story against the effort of the filmmaker--is that what I want to do during a film? NO. I want to be delighted and amazed. Why do we tell the same story again and again?! Answer: because it is a good and important story. Question: then why am I so impatient with it? Answer: because not only is there nothing new about this story, it is truly a post-modern retelling: it is pastiche-pur, it's taken stock images from every one of these intellectual vs establishment clashes since the dawn of history (from old Norse epic and the conversion of the Norse kings embodied in irritatingly thinly-veiled "Eisbjorn" to every example of 21st-century scholars irritating the powers that be and endangering their posts, embodied everywhere) and crowded them all into a parallel universe that is essentially compressed earth-time; A midrash. Why go to all that trouble to say something so obvious? I felt extremely cheated after I'd sat through all this ADHD visionry--with every possible opportunity to say the word "Gyptian" taken--only to have Nicole Kidman say the words "free will" with 10 minutes to go. What IS this, I screamed silently.
What really bothers me about this is, I don't want to think that. I do love this essential story, what could be cooler than having every instance of it told to me at once?
I don't know. But I think it was driven home to me through the supremely off-putting Witches of the North with crypto-Finnish names who were clearly intended to mimic in their speech a skaldic, pre-Christian style of writing. This sort of syntax has the unfortunate disadvantage of being alienating, which for some reason is much easier to take on the page than it is coming out of someone's mouth. After pseudo-Andie-MacDowel flew off I found myself thinking of every film adaptation of ancient or medieval literature, and how often these fail miserably, despite the fact that they are amazing reads and some of the best narratives ever written. They are even told in a very film-like way. So why do they never film well?? I still don't quite get that, but it seemed to me that this story ultimately suffered the same ailment, which might actually be a recession in the narrative economy. It's hard to appreciate the subtleties, the rationale without a certain degree of information, and having not read the books, I was lacking that information. Which in fact seems to me to suggest a strength of the books--the images might all look completely familiar, but that is merely the surface. Otherwise it's a world in itself that I do not know enough about to appreciate. Perhaps the book is too complex to be filmed, like Beowulf or the Odyssey. Or maybe it's just a hack-job. I don't know.
Cut to the credits, where of course I sat to hear--for the first time, mind you--Kate's new song, Lyra. And there I was again, in the same dilemma. Is this just sort-of tossed off, or is it meant to resemble a very old, bardic style of ballad? I presume it's intended, it reminded me a lot of "Bertie".
But as Nicole Kidman made some of her more teary confessions, I was impressed to see that the storyline was deftly opening holes that I am genuinely interested in seeing filled. This is a trend of late, one sees it in Harry Potter as well, that those we look up to as acting in our best interests often have motives we don't or can't see, and sometimes those people even knowingly offer up their wards as a sacrifice that must be made. I realize this is sort of an old trope--I think of Isaac, or Iphigenia--and yet, here there is something that I have not consciously encountered (and I sort of plan to email some Folklorists about this): there is no higher power testing their faiths in these recent stories; it is logic and reason they act on, which makes the story, I think, about a million times more interesting. Because then it really IS about the human condition and the mettle all of us carry within, the choices and priorities people have, the ultimately arbitrary concept of "right" and "wrong", "good" and "evil".
If nothing else, the failings of the film made me want to read the books. And encouraging people to do their own research rather than buy what someone else tells you--well, that's the message anyway, isn't it. So dumb-founding as the film often was, it was definitely true to its purpose.
The last three months have been hell.... I know people go through this all the time, but I could never have imagined the pain.
I met Ken late on in life really, I mean most people are pretty settled with kids and such in their twenties I think, or so it seems.
I can remember approaching 30 and being kinda nervous about it, when suddenly I got this feeling inside that something good was on it's way, it wasn't just a whim, it was like someone beyond my understanding knew how bad things were for me and needed to let me know - it was going to get better. I knew without a doubt that something was going to change, I even told my pal at work, but having been through a break down, I think folks were used to me saying odd things .... and boy did I say some odd things! she just smiled that confused smile I was used to by then.
Sure enough along came Ken. At that point I was having panic attacks quite regularly, paranoia to the point of hearing voices, waking up every night with terrible nightmares and trusting no one. At work I had a very understanding and supportive boss who allowed me a work station on my own cos I just couldn't cope with being around people. I was never brave enough to seek help, I was terrified of being locked up somewhere - my dad was on meds for years and had twice been locked away and twice had electric shock therapy - my half sister is schizophrenic and has been in and out of institutions all her life... and I had watched a good friend go through a terrible breakdown and had seen what the 'meds' can do to change a person.
Trying to stay 'sane' is quite a battle, you learn this technique of 'numbing' yourself to everything, even yourself. I felt like I was behind glass watching everything but not a part of it somehow. My head felt like someone had stuffed it full of cotton wool, everything felt muffled. I would stare into the mirror for hours trying to see if anyone was in there, occasionally glimpsing me looking back out and instantly hating what I saw.
And then came Ken.... it was a battle of wits to begin with. I was convinced he had some evil plan and was setting me up for something diabolical! eventually .. and it took a long time I believed him but then I felt even more confused. The more I wanted to to be close to him, the more anger I felt towards him. I'd spent so long building this fortress around me and here comes some guy just waltzing into my life like he's the one! I eventually told him in some crappy poem - cos talking out loud about some things is just impossible - about certain things and why I felt the way I did. It didn't seem to deter him and eventually against all the odds we got our act together.
I moved into a bedsit on my own for 2 years then when I felt really sure about things I moved in with Ken. That was 12 years ago and although I still get nervous of unfamiliar situations the panic attacks are far and few between. I'm still really suspicious of people and have just one friend who I see regularly, the whole friend thing is really stressful to me ... I just don't know what your meant to do with them! I always feel I'm getting it wrong, so it's easier just not having them. The nightmares have stopped completely - that took many months, but Ken was always there wide awake when I woke up screaming or crying, he was always there to comfort and reassure and eventually they did stop. I trusted Ken completely.
So here I am today finally accepting that it's just been too hard for Ken. I'm not the best 'girlfriend' to have and Ken is at the end of his tether. He is angry and resentful and guilty too, he thought he could cope with it all but now realizes it's just too hard. He wants a normal life and who can blame him really.
The most difficult thing in this for me is that Ken has been confiding in some chick on a forum for several months now and admits that she is the one who has made him realize how lacking his home life is. They have loads in common, she is loads of fun, she is seven years younger than I <_< .... and she tells him that she loves him. They have met up twice purely as friends, and I really DO believe that much. But he loves her and misses her and can't give her up.
It's hard enough coping with the other stuff, but I'm just too exhausted to compete with another woman. I wake up every morning and my first thought is Anya, I feel sick for most of the day. I have behaved in ways I never thought I would. I check his texts, I check his e-mails, I check his MySpace...... I cry a lot, I beg a lot, I shout a lot - I hate what I've become.
Ken promised to stop contact with her for a few weeks at least - to try to help this gibbering wreck I've turned into - and the relief I felt was enormous, I thought maybe Christmas could be at least bearable.... he lasted 3 days before texting her again.
I think that has been a revelation, a turning point somehow. I didn't even cry when he told me. I just felt, well all right then. that's it isn't it? she's more important to him now. The trust has gone.There is no turning back. there's my answer. I will never lose myself again for something that's already in the past. It's incredibly sad. but I have to think of me now, I can't go down that slippery slope again, I won't sit behind glass again. I refuse to blame myself for past events beyond the control of a 15 year old. This will only make me stronger in the end.
Wish me luck friends - I think I'm going to need your help in the coming months more than ever. xxxx
Once upon a time, there was a lady who was named for a city in Spain. She lived in a small dusty town in northern Texas, and had 6 sisters ahead of her, one below, and a brother to boot. She had small hands, and was frequently tricked into cleaning the lanterns; that is, until her family got their first light bulb and they all sat around staring at it in wonder like idiots. There was a picture of her with her sister below her in a donkey cart, and she squinted in the sun. She always seemed to be squinting a smile, and loved life like every day was her last.
When the Depression hit, she moved from the Dustbowl to the Dustbowl ("Grandma, why did you move there during the Depression?" "Because honey, it was Depression." "Ah.") and lived in a linen closet. She got a job at the Woolworth's. She was cute, and she knew it; one night she went to a party and danced. There was a young hot shot playing the piano. They got married and moved into a house that is no longer standing. They had kids, and in-laws, they did not fight in the war, they had one car, they tuned pianos and repaired ceramic statues. Their children stayed in town, but one, who went to college, and then left town. The children went to school, rough-housed with the neighbours, drag-raced cars and worked at drive-ups and pizza joints. The lady named for a city in Spain suffered some, but smiled and laughed mostly. The children had children, some of which also had children. They all gathered together for one holiday a year, and the children of the children played on the garage, pretending to shoot down planes, working in the woodshop, and they all danced and laughed.
Never been sick, never had a headache. (well, you have one now!)
I trust you...like I trust a rattlesnake.
Look at that lady...
(she tried to get up and go home. we had to strap her down. she should be moved to a care facility.)
Now, who are you again? Which one is Carolyn, the one with the flute? *flute noises*
When do I get to go home? Where is Dad? Where is William? (He's coming later.)
I had six sisters ahead of me, and they used to make me clean the lanterns.
Want something to drink? Don't know where mom is, got pop on ice.
Prince Albert in a can.
William! You old tomato!
Which one is Carolyn, the one with the flute?
I had six sisters ahead of me!
You learning the Dutch? I'm still working on English! What do you study at the university, boys?
O, honey, I was cute.
Pretended not to know what it meant, to park. I can't see the lights of the city facing thataway.
Where am I? Can I go home now?
One day she didn't seem to care about going home anymore. She asked where William was, and he was there. So was Tommy. She looked out at something no one else could see and her eyes were clouded over. She closed her eyes.
The funeral was a week later.
We stood over her, crying softly, trying to speak.
"Do you know what she'd say to us, if she opened her eyes right now and saw us standing here, crying?"
"You better knock it off, or I'll beat your a**!!!!"
We started snickering. Then we laughed. We laughed a lot and tears welled up in our eyes. We laid her to rest. She was cremated. The lady who was named for a city in Spain is ash, in an urn with William.
October 31st/November 1st, 1999, I had a dream. And suddenly she appeared, more life-like than ever. She looked around. "What are you doing here?"
"I decided to take a walk. I wanted to see how you all are."
She takes a walk every 1st of November. She says, "You only go around once!" The lady who was named for a city in Spain says, "You only go around once!"
She goes with me, the lady named for a city in Spain. I am making it good, just like I always said I would.
November 1st, 2007.