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Not at my best, I went wandering on Friday night, determined to get back into doing things on my own, something I like and used to do more.

Initially stumbled to the nearest cinema, and (in the mood for other people's romantic problems) watched Closer. There's a chatroom sex scene between Jude Law and Clive Owen, but other than that it came across as very 60s -- the characters were (I kid ye not) a free spirit/stripper, a failed writer, a sexy older women and a blue-collar shagpiece (actually a consultant dermatologist putting on an act to impress the girls). Julia Roberts annoys me at the best of times, and, as usual, refused to act unless someone was shouting at her. One scene between her and Natalie Portman which should have sizzled with emotion, just sat there, being dull. I was annoyed, but also amused ... there was a certain amount of rumpled charm going on.

There was a bit of a gap then, so I went to a gig at the Wheatsheaf. Something rather post-music was going on onstage, which I vibrated happily along to. The first lot went off, then two of them came back on, and started playing something considerably less interesting, so I left. The good stuff might have been, ummm, Animal Collective, or Haunted Grafitti. I wasn't really paying attention.

Got out of that, walked up to the Phoenix and the most uncomfortable cinema seats in Oxford for 2046, which is probably on its last week there, given that it's gone to the infuriating 4./9.15 time-slot (guaranteed not to fit in with your day no matter what you're doing). Dirty pretty stories which wandered back and forth across time, tangling with short science fiction stories written by the delectable Tony Leung (fan site) wrote to pay for his whores and hotel rooms. Glittering dresses and glistening lipstick and wildly oversaturated colour. Urban decay, lowlifes, the despairing little circles that people's lives move in. Glamourous androids with personality disorders. Rumpled gamblers in dim golden alleyways. Gorgeously langourous shots of softly-glowing cybershoes. It was all so very beautiful, and so very long I got out too late to go the 11.30pm show (would have been A Very Long Engagement). Probably just as well.

Then I walked home, through by the observatory and across the graveyard and drained my camera batteries on golden spires. A good night.

Oh good lord. I'm having problems beleiving in the products I've just seen advertised between Samurai Jack and Big O. Let's see if I can get independent verification. Ah - here's the Play-doh drill n' fill, to instill dental fetishism in the very young. The Pink play-doh tongue is an especially nice touch. And, for the budding Ballards and Cronenbergs, here is Play Doh Operation. One of the listed features is "Squeeze, squish, slice and dice". There's honesty in advertising.


( 11 worms — Feed the birds )
24th Jan, 2005 00:22 (UTC)
I bought Ballard's Millennium People yesterday. I liked Cocaine Nights and Super-Cannes very much.
24th Jan, 2005 10:48 (UTC)
why Ballard
I prefer his earlier stuff -- weird apocalypses, dissolving reality, that sort of thing. My favourite is probably Vermillion Sands -- set in an artists village in the latter days of some apocalypse or other ...

But I mentioned him because of the Atrocity Exhibition, which deals (among other things) with surgical fantasies -- the most famous being opening a women's chest to kiss her living heart.
24th Jan, 2005 19:54 (UTC)
Re: why Ballard
I think dissolving reality is very much a part of the three books I mention. They're clearly written by someone who could do with the help of a friendly editor but I like how he builds layers and layers on the same idea. I read an article that manages to plausibly suggest that he is Ramones-esque in this..one good idea repeated in literary chords, drilled into your head with distorting effect.
I've not read any of his early stuff so I can't really say either way, but the Atrocity Exhibition looks good. I sortof want to write a letter to him for some reason. I like how he sees things in concrete and ring roads. Then again, I'm an almost typical Suede fan in that regard.
24th Jan, 2005 23:14 (UTC)
you'd probably like the early stuff
--- my complaint about the later stuff is that there's not enough concrete and ring roads and dissolving reality in them compared to the old stuff ... his current "one good idea" doesn't strike as many chords in me as his last good idea did. Last but one. His first book's called "The Concrete Island", set in a road-space.

Sorry, I can go on a bit about Ballard ...
24th Jan, 2005 23:21 (UTC)
Re: you'd probably like the early stuff
No need to apologise. I'm happy to benefit from the wisdom your advanced years have granted you..
25th Jan, 2005 00:28 (UTC)
I'll get me zimmer frame
24th Jan, 2005 03:41 (UTC)
Substantial films reviews can come in the most readable doses, I'm reminded. So heartened to hear you see Julia Roberts the same way I do. She takes it far too easy, that one, and appears to have believed her press. I'm convinced that's why she rests on her laurels. Oh, I haven't seen three movies in one day for a long time now! I used to love doing that. It always felt decadent, but I never knew what that 'judge' was doing in my head in the first place. I really, really enjoyed it!

Would you mind if I added you to my Friends list? Please feel free to add me as well.
24th Jan, 2005 10:45 (UTC)
don't mind in the slightest, add away.

I love going to three films in one day, too. Even more so now that enough free time to do so is a rare thing ...
24th Jan, 2005 11:34 (UTC)
Cool, thanks. Consider yourself added.
24th Jan, 2005 09:45 (UTC)
I bought you a play-doh drill & fill from the US, didn't I? Maybe I gave it to someone else instead, but I'm sure I bought it for your household when I was living over there...
24th Jan, 2005 10:49 (UTC)
you must have given it to someone else. Possibly even a child ;)
( 11 worms — Feed the birds )