October 29th, 2005

books, reading, ardizzone, library

it was the best of times....

I knew it would happen - the new adaptation of Bleak House (which I have mixed feelings about - two much flashy camera work. I enjoyed it, but it seems to be trying too hard. Fabulous cast, though, apart from Esther, who has a weird tiny mouth and seems incapable of smiling properly. And Johnny Vegas's cat! Its every appearance made me laugh) has put me in a Dickens reading mood. I was re-reading Wives and Daughters, so I thought I had enough 19th century fiction to be going on with, but apparently only Dickens will do. So I'm reading Dombey and Son for the first time since I was about 14, and enjoying it very much. Yeah, he's long-winded and sentimental, but he's very funny, and if you give in to the melodrama and sentimentalism, it works wonderfully (I can do without the ten page descriptions of locations, I will admit). There are few things funnier than Dickens at his most madly funny, something I was surprised by when I first read him, aged about 13 or so. I didn't think he'd be so gloriously surreal. And I submitted to the melodrama with a vengeance when I fell madly in love with Sydney Carton at the age of 15 (so doomed! So noble! So perfect for an angsty teenage girl!).

And I love reading my family editions of Dickens's novels - they all belonged to my great-grandmother and are gorgeous Edwardian editions. And apparently a few years later my grandfather and great-uncle felt the need to claim them for their collective own, because in each one you can find a very neat little "Harry and Piers Murphy" written in little-boy writing from about 1917. Which I find enormously charming, for some reason.

Also, Patsington and I left the house at about seven. We tried to get Fatso McPuffinstuff (aka Ju Ju) to come inside rather than leave her out all evening in the cold, but she wouldn't come in.

AND YET! When we arrived home at midnight, who was curled up on the landing in a veritable sphere of fluff?

Ju Ju. How did she do it? WHO KNOWS? Our bedroom window was open a crack, but surely not enough for Fatso McP to fit her vast bulk through it? Considering that last night she sat on our windowsill for, like, half an hour shouting for someone to open the bigger window and let her in, and all.
rock and roll, musical

thoughts inspired by watching the 100 greatest albums of all time on E4

1. Wow, I love the Specials. Where has my copy of the first Specials album gone? Has Ju Ju eaten it? It's nowhere to be found. Why haven't I listened to it in ages and ages?

2. Doolittle by the Pixies remind me so much of being 13 and 14 it almost hurts. They played the video for 'Here Comes Your Man' and I had an instant flashback to the summer of '89, watching Superchannel's music programming and praying they'd play that or 'Orange Crush' or 'Trouble Me'.

3. Forever Changes by Love does the same thing re: the summer I spent in Boston.

4. Pills and Thrills and Bellyaches is fucking brilliant. There is a reason that 'Step On' remains my ultimate dancing song.

5. The Libertines are over-rated.

6. Wow, I really used to be obsessed with late '60s alternative culture, wasn't I? This shouldn't be a surprise, considering I basically WROTE MY MASTER'S THESIS ON THE SUBJECT. But there was a stage, especially when I was in college, where I had this ideal of a bohemian sexy artsy life which to a certain extent wasn't enormously far off my actual life at the time, which involved a lot of self-conscious artsiness, vintage '60s minidresses (some of which were purchased in the company of none other than glitzfrau) and angsty/pretentious/lovelorn dope-fuelled intense conversations while listening to Nick Drake and Laura Nyro and the Byrds.

7. Where is my copy of Three Feet High and Rising? I loved that album.

8. I'm sadly more prone to ultra-post-colonial self-hating Irishness than national pride, but I have always, ever since I was about 12, been hugely proud that the Smiths were second-generation Irish. My former workmate grew up next door to Johnny Marr (aka Maher)'s first cousins in Kildare. I love the Smiths and have since leedy was obsessed with them in the mid-80s and I had to admit that I actually liked her music.