Author Archive

Didion Redacted

April 29, 2009

“We are not talking here about the kind of notebook that is patently for public consumption, a structural conceit for binding together a series of graceful pensees; we are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its maker.”

I blush at this because it’s just so breath-takingly good. Oh Didion, your way with words is a joy and a curse.

Like P&C I too feel slightly withered after reading her, it’s painful to be confronted with writing that puts all one’s own petty attempts at it into sharp relief – she sort of buffets you about the head with the smallest (and weightiest, I like that term) of phrases and she leaves you sighing and melancholic and buffeted and wishing you could drink straight bourbon like she can.

Are keepers of notebooks really a different and lonely and rearranging breed though? I’m not too sure about this but I do like her point about this breed of hers being awash in ‘some presentiment of loss’ – I know this feeling, I don’t always observe things and then worry they’ll be gone (or already are) and go and write them down in my notebook and try to thus fix them and keep them so I don’t lose them but I know that compulsion well, and that feeling of losing moments exactly in the instant I experience them.

For me, this essay captures so well the paradox of the notebook (or diary, or pensee record, or journal, or blog etc etc), the one that often stops me from filling one up with delightful bon mots and charming anecdotes and profound insights; that is that in writing in one, one is always so conscious that it is both the most self-indulgent/pointless/navel-gazing/dripping in upper middle class angst/privileged way to spend one’s solitary moments AND that it is, as Didion says, a delightful way to resist the expectation to always put others before ourselves, to ‘affect absorption in other people’s favourite dresses, other people’s trout.’

“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.” This is the lesson I’d like to take from her precisely because I’m certain I do everything I can to stay far far away from my previous others – like the one who tried to start a ‘movie diary’ that’s now a recipe book and which I grimace over every time I flip to the review of ‘Lost in Translation’ [the one that says it was ‘bittersweet’ and ‘altered my perception’] instead of to the recipe for chickpea casserole.

But yet, my latest notebook isn’t going much better if I’m honest – it starts with ‘profound’ quotes from GUESS WHO? Erm, Joan Didion of course along with some David Foster Wallace (I seem to think quotes can speak for me better than I can speak for myself – is this just another example of my diffidence to others’ thoughts and ideas as Didion points out?) and apart from that, there are some random PhD related rants hidden towards the back; apart from this I am actually TOO SCARED to write in it – I actually don’t want to mess up the nice clean pages with what I already assume will be a combination of derivative drivel and quotes…sigh…I’m not really getting anywhere now am I?

Maybe when my others appear “…hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night”, instead of picking up my notebook, I’ll just pick up Joan instead.
[I could also just chill the hell out and start messing up my prissy clean little pages with some mind strings – F**k Yeah]

Ada Lovelace Day

March 24, 2009
I RULE you Babbage!

I RULE you Babbage!

Holy cow, how fricking excited do you think I am about discovering that not only is today Ada Lovelace Day but that I can partake in this crazily awesome day by blogging about a Techie Fembot who is imbued with the Lovelace spirit that has smashed technological patriarchy’s lilly-livered ass since 1815??
VERY EXCITED let me tell you

Now I have blogged about this Fembot before but in the spirit of Lovelace, I wish to draw your attention again to the techie/smashing/misogynistic-media-excoriating/awesome/hilarity-inducing Fembot that is:
Sarah Haskins…

No caption needed

No caption needed

Check out Target Women
My favourites so far are Yoghurt, Wedding shows and Vampires
Follow her on Twitter if you are so techie/fembot inclined
Dearest Ada, I hope you appreciate my miniscule contribution to your awesome patriarchy smackdown legacy…
I hail thee

My new nickname

March 18, 2009

beezus-and-ramona1Beezus!

My sis calls me this now

Choice eh?

Ancient Babes

February 17, 2009

Gah!

Listen to this crazy good podcast about Plato’s symposium and erotic love – so awesome!
I must have learnt about this at school but Plato’s speech from Aristophanes about the three genders (not two, three I tell you!) and how we all used to be spheres with four arms and legs and two heads?? It’s giving me conniptions it’s so good!
Also, Alcibiades sounds like the hottest babe EVER plus he was in love with Socrates so he gets even more hot points…

Ancient Babe

Ancient Babe

Why Alien(s) are the best movies ever

February 17, 2009

ripley

1. Because they are claustrophobically scary as hell

2. The soundtracks add to the terror by about a gazillion percent

3. The build-up to the chest-bursting scene in Alien, dear god, it’s crazy how good it is. You (and they) think it’s all ok and they’re having a nice meal back on the ship and then, KABLAM, blood and viscera and freaky alien spawn!

4. Apparently the actors all knew the alien would be bursting out of John Hurt but didn’t know there would be fake blood pumping out of his chest so all their freaking out is for realz!

5. Also apparently Ridley Scott wanted the end of Alien to be way darker – like, he wanted the alien to tear Ripley’s head off, then sit in her chair and start talking in her voice, some evil message for humankind – ahahahahaha!

6. The flamethrowers in Aliens, the shitting scary tomb for all the human victims, the Queenie, the fact that Ripley is undermined and scoffed at by the idiot, white, male corporate bastardos and then totally kicks serious ass and saves humanity. Plus she totally rules that Power Loader!

7. The fact that these films are so DEEP man. Mary Ann Doane (1990) argues that the film deals with “…the revolution in the development of technologies of reproduction (birth control, in vitro fertilisation, artifical insemination, surrogate mothering etc.)” and she also writes that these technologies “…put into crisis the very possibility of the question of origins, the Oedipal dilemma and the relation between subjectivity and knowledge that it supports.” Interestingly, Christine Cornea (2007) argues that the films are about the role of the feminine in the creation of masculine subjectivity and identity¬† – Heavy duty shit yo!

I could go on…..and on

I just wish a female director could have made at least one of the films…I give props to Scott and Cameron but still. I reckon Alison Maclean should direct a new chapter of the franchise, she’d be bloody good.

Alien and Aliens at IMDB

Madd-awesome-Ow

February 12, 2009

Boy oh boy is this lady shi**ing awesome…

rachel-maddow22

Fembot depression

December 12, 2008
Fembot

Fembot

My Fembot power took a battering over the weekend when I read the Observer’s special Women’s issue. Those rape conviction stats were about the most disheartening thing I’ve read in a while and by the time I got to the comments from a young British decathlete about how she was empowered by wearing fake tan at the Beijing Olympics, I was just despairing about the plight of the feminist cause against the particularly virulent strand of conservative postfeminism which Britain is currently steeped in.
Two things have saved me from my own depression though…
Firstly, Sarah Haskins: boy oh boy this lady gives me hope, she’s fucking awesome – check out her yoghurt schtick, priceless.
Secondly, I’ve been listening to Le Tigre’s album Feminist Sweepstakes – holy crap talk about excellent, fembot lyrics, like this song ‘FYR’ (which stands for Fifty Years of Ridicule):
“Feminists we’re calling you. Please report to the front desk. Let’s name this phenomenon. It’s too dumb to bring us down.”
Dyke March 2001 is also a great great song, I listened to it this morning as I walked past a KitKat billboard that read: ‘165 calories, A Gift for All Women’. Fuck off Nestle.

Flipping NY

October 17, 2008

I’m going to flipping New York on Tuesday, flip!

In advance of my departure, here’s a basic itinerary (details TBC)

The Brooklyn style I hope to channel will be this:

Obviously without the Heath or the baby

Obviously without the Heath or the baby

My key foodstuff will be this:

Mmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmm

Then I’ll also get to say in a loud, drawling Noo Yawk accent: ‘Whaddaya doin with my bagel Lonnie?’ etc etc

The place I will go to recreate my favourite film set in New York will be here:

Bustin Makes Me Feel Good

Bustin Makes Me Feel Good

Viva La Venkman!

The bridge I will parade over in a peach/ruched/tulle-bedecked prom dress whilst singing Endless Love, Love is All You Need and Best of My Love is this one:

Bridge-t

Bridge-t

Any other suggestions for the itinerary?

Philosophers Face-Off

October 15, 2008

I’m reading these two books simultaneously at the moment:

Exhibit A: Jacques Derrida’s Positions

Sample quote: “Thus, the limit on the basis of which philosophy became possible, defined itself as the episteme, functioning within a system of fundamental constraints, conceptual oppositions outside of which philosophy becomes impracticable.”

Derrida

Exhibit A: Derrida

Exhibit B: Chapman’s The Good Husband’s Guide to Balancing Hobbies and Marriage

Sample Quote: “My main qualification for writing this book is that I am a sportsman with a happy wife…a contented wife…a wife who supports my hobbies. And by the way, if you don’t think it is important to do all that you can to cultivate the sweet disposition of contentment in your wife, consider this ancient bit of wisdom from the book of Proverbs (27:15)…”

Chapman

Exhibit B: Chapman

Obviously Derrida and Chapman enrich my life in different ways but i just thank god (sorry Chapman, the Sweet Lord Himself) for philosophers such as these – they illuminate, they elucidate, they speak the TRUTH

NB. Chapman also writes music but I’ll save commentary on his hit single: ‘The Hunter and His Gun’ for another post