Hearing about my hometown in context of, y'know, a murder is pretty strange.
So the film where the guy hacks his arm off, that apparently caused people to faint when it was shown in the cinemas back in 2010, got a terrestrial airing last night. Whether it was because I was tired after an excellent weekend in the country, or whether it was due to being in the countryside itself, but the bits that had the most impact were the flashbacks — and hallucination-based flashforwards — that lead up to the arm-hacking.
I think what both this film and Into the Wild do really well is highlight the tension between the desire to get away from everything, 'back' to a 'natural' state, and the fact that this inevitably leads to severing ties with the people that love you most.
As for my rural weekend, well, that involved more cake and hot-tubs than the severing of limbs. More on that later.
Casio PT-1 keyboard, c1986, discovered in the attic over Christmas.
The week between Christmas and New Year—the floaty, formless week—has to be one of my favourite times of year. Nothing happens. I just walked, sunlit, from my parents' house around the tiny river that flows from there to the school I used to attend. People walked their dogs. Boys played with a new videocamera on its banks. Nothing happened. It was brilliant.
I had a day off work today which, given how busy it's been in the office over the past couple of weeks, is a thing that is very welcome.
Apart from dicking about with this blog — obviously — here are some of the excellently unproductive things that I have caught up on:
Finished reading Stewart Lee's excellent book, How I Escaped My Certain Fate. I've had this since my proper holiday a couple of months ago, but never got around to finishing it. It is indeed excellent. Stewart Lee was one of my heroes when I was in my late teens, and then I pretty much promptly forgot about him when I discovered cheap alcohol and the Midlands, which might be ironic if I could work my brain enough to find out.
Watched a strangely excellent BBC One quiz show presented, strangely, by posh but inoffensive comedian Alexander Armstrong. It was excellent, but also — as I may possibly have touched on — strange. Following the success of The Weakest Link (hnnghgh) about a decade ago it became mandatory for all quiz shows to have a Thing, whether amplified humourless meanness or a rejection of any semblance of intellect or strategy or point. This was much better than those earlier things. It also featured the host using words including 'brilliant', 'super' and 'ruddy duck', which would probably only happen in this country.
Watched, twenty years later, My Own Private Idaho. My friend Alice was a big fan of this when we were in year eight. Now, too late for it to be of any interest, I completely agree with her.
During the many, many hours that I spend on public transport, one of the ways that I pass the time (apart from wondering what the boy who never doesn't wear a hat's hair might be like) is over at the AV Club, the brilliant culture spin-off of The Onion. Being, as I am, a person who wrote their undergraduate dissertation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek, it's the TV pages that I usually gravitate towards, which feature some of the best writing about television that I've seen in any medium.
This is a recent highlight. It's about Boy Meets World, the US comedy/drama thing that ran on Channel 4 for most of the 1990s, back before TV execs had invented – sigh – Hollyoaks. (Other things that they ran on schoolnights: Blossom, Desmond's... and I've forgotten the others.) And so it was one of those things that I'm disproportionately fond of, because it happened right at the start of my adolescence (see also: REM and Ren and Stimpy).
It's great to see something as otherwise overlooked as Boy Meets World get proper, in-depth coverage, not least because I'd forgotten it was where Rider Strong, he of the excellent name, first became a thing that exists. And anything that reminds me of the phenomenon of '1990s hair' is a good thing with me.