Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter has been a weekend of quiet pleasures, the kind of pleasures that make an extended period of solitude so important for me. Ironically enough, I spent so much time on Thursday night talking with people insisting upon allocating nicknames to me ("Bongo"!!!) among other pleasures that by the time I made it to the supermarket to stock up on food all I got was a "sorry bud, we've closed". Ah, so a Good Friday spent eating pot noodles was in store for me. Luckily it was not so bad: my local cafe was open and doing a rather nice smoked chicken and couscous in pita bread concoction, so that was lunch taken care of. The other stand-out food moment of the weekend was today's lunch - inspired by John Hawkesby's rant on National Radio about the need to buy good wine from small wine shops I went up the hill to Rhubarb, which everyone in Dunedin with any sort of taste and discernment must surely know about by now. There I was able to have a rather tasty curry with my coffee. Nice.

But my pleasures of the weekend have run through the three most important cultural activities I can think of. I've read a great book (Shirley by Charlotte Bronte, which I'll need to write more about later). I have watched some great TV/film. Saturday night, instead of seeking out company and the raucous joys of the Shocking Pinks, I went and saw Sideways, a really fabulous little movie. Among the dross playing on TV (repeats of NZIdol anyone?), I've watched the Gilmore Girls - the fifth series has just started. I love the sneer delivered by Lane. Some random chick has been raving about how she'd love to drop everything and spend the next three years, just reading. Lane's deadpan question: "which book?" Of course, that leads on to a whole enquiry into whether Lane might just be in love with the guy the random had been hanging off. This is one of my favourite TV programmes yet it seems that that is supposed to be a dirty secret - so many people love the show yet are afraid to share their love. Why? I'm not afraid of the fact that I'm about to buy the DVD of the first three series. Its not like Felicity - now that show has some serious problems. And what do you do if your show has problems retaining any kind of theme or viewership? Its obvious - you have your main character engage in time travel, and have her come back to re-claim Noel when she finds Ben has been cheating on her. Now - this has already happened to Felicity in her real time, yet she allows herself to be persuaded by Ben that he'd never do that to her. Its not Felicity who should be locked up, but those making this - back when she was a student it was actually an OK show, one I'd make a point of watching. Now that I've caught up with it again, I won't.

I've also, naturally, watched ER. But, along with bits of Rove Live and the Vicar of Dibley that's about it for TV viewing over the past few days, unless you count the DVD of Black Books. I bought this for a stupidly cheap price last weekend in Auckland, and have been rationing it out cautiously, because, well, its as valuable as water on Dune. So far, I've watched to the second episode - the one in which Bernard gives Manny a job. Hilarious. For tonight's viewing pleasure, I took advantage of the cheap DVD night and rented Fracture.

Musically, the big thing is that I dug out a functioning record player and a stack of records, including some that have turned up from random trademe transactions, bought because it sounded like a good idea at the time. So, last night, I was listening with half an ear to a Son Volt record, Straightaways, when one track simply arrested me in whatever I was doing - it was slower than the rest, had a beautiful harmonica, gloomed guitar and lovely vocal. I bought this because when Uncle Tupelo fell apart and Jeff Tweedy went on to form Wilco, his former partner Jay Farrar had formed Son Volt. Others I remember from last night's session include Gary Numan's I, Assassin; Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Acme. Earlier in the weekend, I'd had a bit of a Nick Cave and Tom Waits festival, and found myself blown away by the lyrics to Cave's Lyre of Orpheus. After a simple strum of the lyre kills his wife, Eurydice, Orpheus plays it so much that God gets so annoyed with him he kills him with a hammer. So, Orpheus and Eurydice are in hell:

Poor Orpheus woke up with a start
All amongst the rotting dead
His lyre tacked safe under his arm
His brains all down his head
O Mamma O Mamma

Eurydice appeared brindled in blood
And she said to Orpheus
If you play that fucking thing down here
I'll stick it up your orifice!
O Mamma O Mamma

An interesting reversal of the original, where music was his salvation!


Anonymous morphess said...

That Vicar of Dibley was good wasn't it? I blubbed.
Black Books...I gave The Old Man the entire series on video for Christmas (Amazon) we are still carefully eeking them out.
Sideways is the film I MUST see next.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jessie said...

What did you think of Fracture? I really liked it. I'd studied the novel (Crime Story) in 7th form but it was still more violent than I remembered. Not that I like violence or anything. I seem to have a much lower tolerance for it these days, which is why I now prefer the Natural Born Killers soundtrack to the movie.

Should I get that Nick Cave album? I almost bought it a couple of days ago at Fish Records in Sydney, could order it for my birthday..

11:26 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

I'll talk about Fracture a bit later - but Nick Cave's album is fabulous. I'm sure that when harvestbird returns from her hols, she'll agree. Plus, it is still available, down here anyway, very cheaply - $25. Absolute bargain, as you're getting 2 CD's.

As for the Vicar of Dibley, I only watched half of it - I thought it kind of sweet that when she did the speed dating (!!!) thing, everyone except for the male model tosser picked her.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous morphess said...

ohh shame. It was ground breaking stuff. They did an appeal for world poverty at the end - never seen that before in a sit-com.

11:14 AM  

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