HBD dad and lyn (again)

Today is my dads birthday, and tomorrow is lyn’s. I find it curious that two of the most special people in my life have birthdays so close. Without dad I wouldnt have had the upbringing I did, and without Lyn I would never have moved to London and seen how much potential life truly has. Thus, in entirely different ways, dad and lyn made me who I am today (the large role my mum played notwithstanding). All that I can do is wish them both the best of birthdays, and record that I love them more than I can say.

Is textual play becoming mainstream?

It has been another of those quiet, chilled out sundays. Apart from some work on my thesis this morning, I haven’t really done much. Lyn has been busy at work in her studio. Mind you, I did come across the beginnings of something interesting earlier: I had known about Star Trek: Of Gods and Men for a while now, but,, arrogantly perhaps couldn’t be bothered to engage with it. I finally gave it a viewing this afternoon. It’s strange: it is a version of star trek which is not the official version, as made by paramount, but which has many of the original actors in it, so you can’t call it fanfiction either. It sort of merges the two genres in a way, which interests me greatly. Like fanfic it takes an original text and adds to it in a way the original creators might not have intended, yet it has many actors from the original. I suppose it can be seen as a type of ‘official fanfic’, yet I still feel a sense of subversiveness to it, as if it’s makers were trying to tell paramount something. To my mind it almost yearns for the reinvigoration of a moribund franchise.

Either way, it seems to me that this might be the beginning of something. Textual play is opening up: we saw a good example at the olympics with bond and the queen. Like fanfiction, and like Of Gods and Men, that sequence can be seen to both add to, play with and pay tribute to an original text, for instance referencing/reusing the Union Jack parachute jump from The Spy Who Loved Me; but like the latter and unlike the former, it was semi-official, using original actors in their original roles, so it stands apart from usual, fan-made textual play. Indeed, given that it would be inappropriate for her majesty to appear in an actual EON-produced Bond film, Happy and Glorious is as near as it possibly could be to be to being a ‘real’ bond film; it therefore cannot be lumped together with the usual type of fanfic or textual play*. Could both be instances of a new kind of postmodern artistic movement, one which plays with established texts in new ways? Both constitute the breaking of accepted barriers. Could textual play itself be becoming mainstream? Now that certainly is an interesting prospect. after all, if bond can meet the queen, then why not anything else? Why can’t a borg cube fight an imperial deathstar, or Gollum poke harry potter in the eye?

*Mind you, as soon as one says that, one enters into debates over whether this was or was not bond. We know that ‘real’ 007 films are made by EON. This wasn’t, so therefore it can’t be a real bond film or part of he character’s history. If it is, then one must consider other bits of fanfic to be just as canonic (even if the rules of cannon in the fan studies sense do not apply to this franchise as they usually would). For instance, it would follow that ‘Never say Never Again’ should be accepted into the fold. At the end of the day, however, given that he official, current Bond actor was used, together with the bond theme and a firmly established bond meme in the flag-emblazoned parachute, to try to argue that this was not Bond or a huge tribute to the Bond phenomenon because it was not made by EON would be absurd. After all, although not official bond films, things like Never Say Never Again attest to Bond’s cultural position simply due to the fact they exist.

I can blog in klingon!

According to click this week, Bing translator can now traslate things into Klingon. Trekkie that I am, I loved the idea, and, rather than making the effort to find anything more substantial to write about, I thought I’d share the following with you:

” DaH blog qaStaHvIS tlhIngan vIta’laH! cool, wIjuS? rejmorgh yIDaQo’, English Hol yIlo’ jatlhqa’ wa’leS. Qapla’!”

part of the magic of the metropolis

It still intrigues me how different parts of this vast city feel differently, so that different areas seem like entirely different places. Lyn and I ere just in Bexleyheath doing the weekly shop. Marta kindly drove us there as my powerchair is currently out of action. It’s quite a distance, and o get thee you have to go down shooters hill road. A certain stretch of that road hasa wood on one side and a golf couse on another, so you can forget you’re in a city. It’s strange – it feel like you’re entering a totally separate place, not London, but another, smaller town. Bexley is, of course, officially part of kent, although I still see anything within the M25 as London. Yet strangely it feels like a small market town, much like Congleton, where I grew up. I’ve experienced this all over the capital, and I’m fascinated by places so close can feel so different, unique and separated. I suppose this is part of the magic of the metropolis; this vast microcosm where so many places are also just one.

Those who think in such narrow terms have no place in government.

Today I would like to direct you here, to an E-petition calling for the resignation of Colin Brewer. A councillor in cornwall, Brewer apologised and resigned earlier this year after commenting that ‘disabled children should be put down’, but was re-elected earlier this month. I’m sorry but I don’t want such a scumbag anywhere in government, local or national. He likens kids with disabilities to farmyard animals which, if ‘misshapen’, are shot. I deeply resent that equation: as a child I was not useless, and nor am I now. Frankly I can’t think of anything worse: the thought of any child, disabled or not, being murdered just because some arrogant little man deemed it ‘useless’ chills the blood. Surely those who think in such narrow terms have no place in government.

‘It has to stop’

I may have attacked the Daily Mail in the past, but this article about the effects of coalition cuts on people with disabilities is well-rounded, humane and well worth a read. While I am hesitant of it’s talk about morality as it is a subjective construct, it paints a vivid, harrowing picture of what life will be like for many of ‘us’. As it says, Condem Britain is a place ”[w]here our Members of Parliament kick 12 bells out of vulnerable people but allow the extraordinarily wealthy to leap through tax loopholes designed to protect their already huge stash.” and where, it goes on ‘some are so materially rich that if they lived to be hundreds of years old – and never did another days work in their lives – it would not dent their coffers and others die for want of a warm bed and a regular meal.” As the writer notes, ”such disparities are obscene”. This overt oppression of those with disabilities by the government must stop. Who knows, now papers like the Mail are publishing such articles, maybe the tide has turned.

Red letter media on First Contact

I feel absolutely obliged to direct you here, to perhaps the most impressive online review of a film I’ve seen in quite some time. I found a reference to the site, Red Letter Media, in one of the comments to Mark Kermodes film about cyber media. In that, Dr. Kermode starts to look at the relatively new field of online film reviews: such reviews seem to be taking over from reviews in traditional media, so we are seing a sort of democratisation of film criticism. People are trying to take a cue from writers like Roger Ebert ad Kermode and really engaging with film. Thus I thought I’dd google one of te sites mentioned, and what I have already seen is quite staggering.

While it lacks the engagement with discourses such as psychoanalysis, Marxism and feminism one often finds in the cinephilia pioneered by the writers of Cahiers Du Cinema, and thus lacks that philosophical aspect (I was reading Zizek yesterday, so I’m into the Lacanian stuff again), this sort of review shows a highly impressive engagement with film. It is a type of close textual analysis where plot holes and inconsistencies are picked up upon (plot holes being, according to Keathley, one possible basis for cinephiliac moments). It is clear that the creator of this review knows his subject back to front: I’ve seen First Contact hundres of times, and he reveals stuff I have missed but, when pointed out, strike me as obvious. I cannot help but be impressed by his level of understanding and attention to detail. Thus whether this is cinephilia in the acdemic sense I’m not sure, but it is certainly part of a new hybrid discourse, a new type of engagement with film; selfreferential, more than a little sarcastic, a tad crude, but no less engaged with cinema.

Blue sofa

Blue sofa, how I know you?

Seat of my belonging, my reading, my watching

The hours I spend in your embrace

After returning from this or that place.

Blue sofa, metonymy for home

For safety and warmth,

And, large and comfortable, for love.