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back for good

This month's Observer Woman supplement is a "fashion and lifestyle special". Except, isn't that pretty much what Observer Woman is about every single month anyway? I despair of that rag, I really do. Especially when you add in the hideously offensive and downright classist and racist article about Coleen McLoughlin in the Review section, which is filled with more patronising generalisations about Irish Catholics and the British working class than you'd think possible in a two page piece. Fuck off, Observer.

I went to see Pan's Labyrinth last night and loved it - the perfect blend of truly amazing fantasy and genuinely disturbing gritty reality. The violent bits are, however, very violent; I had my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears during one of the more graphic scenes. But the whole thing is absolutely fantastic and is strongly recommended.

The weather is very wild and wet and blustery and yet I actually prefer it to the usual damp drizzle. There's something exhilarating about more extreme weather. Today at lunch time Patsington and I donned hats, scarves and boots and tramped through the park to the Horse and Hound pub for a (delicious and snug) pub lunch. Afterwards we stomped back again through the deserted park, surrounded by slightly scarily swaying trees. It was so windy I was almost blown off my feet at one stage (Patsington said he was going to have to tie a string to me and fly me like a kite) but oh, it was fun. And then we tumbled in the door and curled up on the couch and watched the Coronation Street omnibus and afterwards I put on Ella Fitzgerald and read a Georgette Heyer mystery (I'd never read her detective novels until recently and they're absolutely brilliant - character driven and very funny but with genuinely clever mystery plots). Blissful.

And it's Advent! It may be many years since I went to Mass every Sunday and I have no desire (or belief in Catholic dogma) to go again, but I must confess I feel a little twinge when I remember the excitement turning up at the Church on the first Sunday of Decemeber and seeing that the first candle of the Advent wreath was alight. But we develop our own Christmassy rituals, and right now my house's one is listening to Sufjan Stevens's fantastic Christmas album box set. So strange and beautiful and somehow really Christmassy.

And finally - is anyone else strangely charmed by the successful Take That comeback? Because I really am. I've always had a soft spot for the That, even though (or perhaps because) my youngest sister was absolutely obsessed with them back in their heyday, meaning that for a while I came home from college almost every evening to find her watching Take That: The Party, Live at Wembley. I always found the lads themselves kind of likeable, and, call it Stockholm syndrome, but quite a few of their songs broke through my indier-than-thou music snobbery, including, of course, the unashamedly great 'Back for Good'. So I'm glad that after all Robbie Williams's sneering, their comeback has been not only a huge commercial hit, but a critical one too - the album is getting good reviews. I won't be buying it, I might add, but I'm weirdly glad that lots of other people are.

Right, back to the couch and Georgette...


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
I'm celebrating Advent with a huge Box of Delights craving - my mouse keeps hovering over the buy now button...
Dec. 3rd, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
I can get it out of the library for you!
Dec. 3rd, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
Not the BBC adaptation on DVD version, alas! Or can you?
Dec. 3rd, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, damned literary childhood. I assumed it was the book, and didn't bother following the link! I forgot that film versions also exist. The SHAME.
Dec. 4th, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
I have seen it on DVD! Our quiz partner, Dave, lent it to us, and it was the BBC version.

Dec. 4th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
Oh, I know it's available on DVD - it's just that glitzfrau can't get the DVD out of the library! I would love to see it again - it's what inspired me to read the book back in the day, after all. The music still makes me feel incredibly Christmassy. Did it stand up to an adult viewing?
Dec. 4th, 2006 10:28 am (UTC)
Sorry, I knew that's what you were saying, I was just boasting for the heck of it, because I just watched it last month.

It sort of stood up, it was very Christmassy and BBC-ish, but the special effects were kind of funny, and Herne the Hunter was no scary Robin of Sherwood Herne!
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:40 pm (UTC)
I remember thinking at the time (back in 1984) that the special effects were SO amazing and astounding! I bet they aren't now, though...
Dec. 3rd, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
I got halfway through that Colleen article before screaming at a level that made G. jump. I then proceeded to rant incoherently and hit the back button.

You know something, I'm going to go off and be feckless and lazy for the rest of my life. The fact that if I wanted to make generalisations, my first comments after working in the UK were "Protestant work ethic, my arse" (which the writer would no doubt claim was wrong because a Mick like me should say "me arse" is well...

Dec. 3rd, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
Actually, having discovered further down my friends' list that irish_minority had also linked to said Conrad article and discovered that Mr Conrad is, in fact, Australian, all I can say is that a beer-swilling, kangaroo-boxing, ocker from the bush like Mr Conrad clearly knows nothing about women, Catholics, Protestants, the British working classes and, in fact, the whole human race due to the fact that he has spent his entire life in sexual relationships with sheep.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
Good god, for some reason, I thought I was commenting in oursin's lj, so ignore the bit about "discovering in irish_minority" and just allow for me being stressed.
Dec. 4th, 2006 04:58 am (UTC)
I've been wanting to see Pan's Labyrinth since the trailers started appearing a few months ago, so I'm glad you liked it. I'll definitely have to see it when it gets here.

I found the Georgette Heyer mysteries on ebay a few years ago and started snapping them up. It's a shame she didn't write more mysteries - she definitely had a knack for them.
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
She does, doesn't she? I think my favourite so far is A Blunt Instrument - an excellently clever twist. I did actually guess the murderer, but it wa smore of a "wow, wouldn't it be cool if it were X" rather than "oh God, how obvious, it has to be X" type guess!

And yes, Pan's Labyrinth is strongly recommended!
Dec. 4th, 2006 09:00 am (UTC)
I am also delighted by Take That's return. I was never a huge fan of theirs at the time but they were so much a part of my early teenager-hood that I can't help but find them incredibly nostalgic. I watched 'An Audience With Take That' over the weekend, and yes, it was appallingly cheesy and over-scripted, but I loved them for it anyway. I must admit that 'Never Forget' makes me a little bit emotional.
Dec. 4th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
The Colleen article was indeed disgraceful but I thought the article on Exhaustion in the Women's mag was spot on in the way it tapped in to that idea that we're all too tired for life, too busy for friends etc. These days no one seems to have an off button. Personally, I blame the damn Internet. :)

After ODing on Agatha Christie in my teens I moved on to the Georgette Heyer and Ellery Queen mysteries. Top stuff.

And yes, 'Back for Good' is genius....

Didn't get to hear any radio so far today, is it possible to listen back and hear your book recommendations?
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was on Mr Tubridy's show, so you can hear today's show online. I attempted to counterbalance his infamous homophobia by naming Alison Bechdel's Fun Home as my book of the year (which it was - I wasn't actually lying for political effect!).

I'm actually kind of amazed that I didn't read Heyer's mysteries sooner - I've been a fan of her regency romances since my teens, and I love Golden Age crime stuff. My very very favourite 'Queen of Crime' is Dorothy L Sayers - what's Ellery Queen like?
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:51 pm (UTC)
Oh good stuff, I'll listen back later.

Loved Dorothy L. Sayers too. I keep meaning to go back to a lot of that stuff.
Ellery Queen has a great story behind it, it's actually a pseudonym of two guys (who were related, I think) who then called their detective Ellery Quinn. It's standard, but enjoyable, whodunnit stuff but they used to ask at the end if the reader knew who did having digested all the clues. Good fun and they were hugely popular when they were first published.
Dec. 4th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
I loved Pan's Labyrinth too - both a wonderful dark fairy tale and a really good gritty war movie. And ditto on the violence, I think a lot of the audience were in full-body winces for a great chunk of the film.

Also I can now frighten Brian by brandishing my palms at him with my hands on my head...
Dec. 4th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
I'm really torn about seeing Pan's Labyrinth. It sounds as though much of it is absolutely brilliant, but everyone has mentioned the violence. I may wait until the DVD, which I can stop/fast-forward/mute as necessary!

Dec. 6th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Or, you know, stick your fingers in your ears, scrunch up your eyes and hide your face under your arm. Works for me... kind of.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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