September 24th, 2008

ProustSwirly

Approaching the home stretch: Time Regained

I had this bizarre insight on Monday that Time Regained is kind of like Proust's version of the Phantom Menace. You kind of know how it's all going to end (ooh, is he going to become a writer?) and (so far) everything seems really anticlimactic. All of his best moments have already happened and he's already said his goodbyes (in The Fugitive, the last book he actually wrote). It's very much, "Well, I suppose we have to get through this bit in order for the "real" story to happen" - only PM was a total piece of poo and this isn't THAT bad. It's just ... not as good as what preceded it.

I have also seen the height of Proust's writing powers already, in the increasingly better-written novels that were done after Time Regained was written (I think these are three books, the ones all about Albertine - it's a bit of a shock to go back to mid-career Proust after reading the end of career stuff), and, to me, the actual climax of the series was in the last book, when the narrator goes to Venice, the thing that's been his dream since early, early in the book, when his health and nervous temperament kept him from travelling. So now, he's back in Paris, and, to me, nothing seems the same. Everyone's older, time has marched on ... and while I've enjoyed listening to Proust go on about writing and the value of art (and the value of life to art), I just feel like I'm spending a really long time watching someone slowly expire on a stage while finishing their death arie. At any rate, I'm at page 234 of Finding Time Again, and I've got 124 pages left. My goal is to finish the book in October, meaning it will have taken me two years to have finished it (post on buying it here, post on starting it here). That seems reasonable enough to me, though I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started.
I Miss America

Sarah Palin: The Pretty Face of Evil (not quite Eichmann)

I was really intrigued by this blog-type post I read (most of) last night, calling Sarah Palin America's Evita ("the designated muse of the coming American police state"). Now, the poster sounds a little wacky (is Naomi Wolf's mail really being read? is her email being hacked?), but I found the claims that Palin might actually be being set up to be Rove's little political puppet quite ... digestible. Please, have a look and let me know what you think.
Blythe

I am looking forward to good health. Review of Helium.

I've done a little review of Helium, the show that J and I saw at the Barbican this weekend. It was really worth going to and I probably had more fun at it than I would have at Goths On A Boat, though doubtlessly in part this is because I was too sick to dance and GOAB was sold out, anyway.

For my friends who like tea: a fun article booklectic sent me from The Guardian about drinking fancy tea.

Movie tonight, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, described as "a witty tale of love, faith, jealousy, desire... and cross-dressing." Sounds great to me!
Movie reel

Review of "The Romance of Astrea and Celadon"

This was one of the twee-est things I've seen in a really long time, sort of like an ultra long outtake from Monty Python and the Holy Grail - without the spankings. I had moments where I expected to see Donovan show up doing his Pied Piper routine (from another horrible movie we saw at the BFI, though this had better cinematography, the songs were also laughable and the dancing stunningly amateur). Celadon was comically Goth, and spent half of the movie living in a hut in the woods writing poetry and moping. I found both him and his girlfriend almost utterly insufferable. Bah!

I'll admit it was very faithful to the whole 17th century pastoral poem from which it came, but ... there was a scene when Celadon was lying in bed with his covers pulled up to his chin, pretending to be a girl, and three shepherdesses burst into his room, saying, "It's time for you to rise!" and the whole audience burst out laughing. Oddly, the one thing it could have used a lot more of was sex, and while there were two topless bits, otherwise there was nothing more than some smooching. Considering how hot the actors were, this was a real shame.

I'm somewhat impressed that all three of us made it all the way through it. I felt guilty and paid for a round of drinks afterwards to take the taste of the film out of our mouths and I suspect I'll have to take bathtubgin out to something else, too (tough for both of us, hmm?).