Friday, April 28, 2006

Movie Clichés

Before I go to a movie now, I ask

A) Does it have car/motorbike/boat/plane chase in it?"

B) Does it have a heroine/hero living in a house in the wilds, who is being chased by some baddie, hears noises in the middle of the night, turns on lights and goes OUTSIDE, leaving the doors open, to investigate?

I hate movie clichés. It fair does me head in, so it does!

We have become used to lots of fast furious action, special effects and gadgetry in our theatre, movies and tv, to the extent that we find it difficult to watch something where we have to concentrate on nuances to elicit enjoyment. I do like gadgetry, but I expect it to work first time! I watched a James Bond movie on tv the other night (the one with Halle Berry) and with all the state of the art equipment Bond kept shooting the same baddie over and over and missing – if the gadgetry is that technologically perfect why didn’t it work first time, eh? I guess it would make the movie shorter! (My lust interest thinks I'm a total philistine!)

If Shakespeare, Dickens, Beckett were submitting their work to-day, I don’t believe they would get published, without sticking in all the clichés to make the work “marketable”, if indeed at all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ageing disgracefully

Over at Andraste ( she talks about ageing gracefully. No, no, no! I believe we should age as disgracefully as possible. Not for me genteel acceptance of crinkles, wrinkles, grey hair, grey clothes, rocking chairs and walking frames. I want to paraglide when I’m 80. I want to wear satin, bright colours, silly shoes, lipstick, perfume and mascara – and if I ever have to get a walking frame, I want it to be a Ferrari designer brand. (Hey, there’s a gap in the market there!). I want every cream, pill, potion and surgical help available to delay the inevitable – I want spare part surgery to replace the failing bits – there is nothing more beautiful than a well kept vintage Rolls Royce! I want to max out my credit cards on luxury and die owing millions!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Evocative Smells

More than any of my other senses, smells can conjure up a whole chunk of the past. My whole Dublin childhood is a history of smells.
The smell of pencil shavings, and new text books takes me right back to junior school.
The smell of the perfume ‘Poison’ is one of my mother’s do gooder friends, a right old interfering harridan who always shopped me to my parents. (Where I lived as a child everybody knew everybody else and gossiped, which is why I love the anonymity of London)
The smell of cowslips zooms me right pack to picnics with my parents when a very small child, in the pine forest area in the Dublin mountains where my father brewed smoky tea on a makeshift barbecue. No booze, just cups of tea with barbeque – makes me laugh now. The smell of fresh tar is school holidays; roses takes me back to white dresses at the local church May processions. The resiny smell of pine trees and the scent of lilies, that most popular of flower, always remind me of Irish wakes and funerals. And nicest of all, leather and horse manure - the local stables, and riding at my grandfather's farm. I can be walking along a London street and get a whiff of something that transports me back in time to 7 years old.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Man, the Chief, The Maestro

"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."

Ahhhh, the wonderful Samuel Beckett .........he knew how to say it in the fewest words.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cut to the chase

This is going to be a serious post and maybe a bit of a rant. First I’m giving you a bit of background.
It’s virtually impossible to make a living as an artist. There are thousands of talented artists who will end up doing it only as a hobby, or horror, teaching. If a painting is on sale in a gallery for, say £3000, when sold the artist gets about 40 or 50%. It may have taken anything from two months to a year to produce the piece – so most of us do all sorts of odd jobs to make a living, while producing work to show in the hope that one day we too will be like Lucien Freud. As well as sometimes being fun and glamorous, the art world is harsh and hard, lots of nepotism and sometimes lots of undeserved success to the untalented by virtue of the right connections. Anyway, that’s the background. (And maybe another post one day!)

I have done lots of different jobs, bar work, restaurant work, but the most lucrative, and the most boring, is office work – which I am doing at present and I have been in this job for several months. I have become very fond of some of my colleagues. Now for the serious part.

One of my colleagues has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is apparently one of the worst you can get, with a 2% survival rate after one year. He is being offered little help from the medics other than palliative care, as current treatments are not only expensive but have uncertain survival rates. I have been helping him trawl the internet for every scrap of information available and have come with up with some potentially very exciting new treatments and trials, in France, Italy, and America – the American one is having a 90% success rate with previously hopeless and inoperable pancreatic cancer cases - and the more I look the more stuff I find. All seem to provide part solutions, so a combination of several could not only provide increased lifespan, but perhaps a cure.
I find it enormously frustrating that all these disparate researchers can’t get their information and treatments in a central base for the greater good of mankind – instead of which each one wants to be THE person to get the credit, to get the most cash from a drug company, to get the Nobel or whatever. I do know similar things occur in all aspects of medicine, and in the cosmeceuticals industry, but surely for dread diseases they could cut out the shit and pool their research. They could still get recognition for their individual efforts. I realise that I would stop at nothing to get through all this red tape if it meant a chance for one of my loved ones. Rant over!


He has had the first stage, i.e. they have put "markers" (proper name is something like fiducals?) into the area, he goes back to San Francisco this weekend for next stage - the actual cyber or gamma knife which is a robotic device that zaps the tumours. He was a very large bloke last August, but is now losing weight steadily, has lost about 40 kilos in total, which would be a good thing if it wasn't through illness. Everybody keeps telling him how well he looks with the weight loss, if only they knew. I am keeping all my fingers crossed, but I think at this stage he needs a miracle.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Officials with Clipboards

Doorbell rang early Saturday morning, am not at my best in the mornings, and especially not Saturdays, so rather rattily answered the door. An official looking gent with clipboard. After verifying my name as lawful occupant, he said that a new rail link for the Olympic games would be running directly beneath my street and it would be necessary for me to vacate my property within 24 hours as an engineer and workman would be arriving first thing Monday morning to remove floorboards and do some drilling into the soil beneath my property. I naturally went slightly ballistic, and had a big rant and rave as he droned on about officially informing me etc. etc. He then pushed his clipboard under my nose and to sign a document. Just above the signature space was the message in large green letters “Jessica wishes you Happy 1st April”……………………I’m gonna kill her.