JRM And Fish

Why oh why do we have to put up with morons like this running the country? Rees-Mogg may think he’s superior to the rest of us because he speaks with a plumy accent, but he’s clearly an idiot.

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says '"The key is, we' ve got our fish back! They're now British fish, and they're better and happier fish for it!" T 14 JAN HOUSE OF COMMONS Jacob ReesMogg -14 January 2021 House of Commons'

Terry Gilliam’s Animation

I’m still a huge Monty Python fan, of course, but one of the often forgotten aspects of classic python is Terry Gilliam’s wonderful animation. Gilliam is now a renowned director, but I think it’s worth remembering he started his career making fantastic stream-of-conscious cut-out animations whose artistic impact is arguably still felt. With that in mind, I think this fascinating little 1974 video about how Gilliam made his videos is worth a watch. If nothing else, it’s a nice little distraction for a bleak Thursday afternoon.

Tories blame others for their own evil

I’ve heard it said recently, more than once, that Boris Johnson is the kind of person who waits to see which way a crowd is running, before running in front of it and shouting ”Follow me!” The charlatan did it again at PMQs earlier in an attempt to rewrite facts which was almost Trumpian. Kier Starmer was rightly criticising the Tory scumbag for not supplying enough food for schoolchildren during lockdown. It’s obvious that the buck stops with the government: if they funded the catering services correctly, people like Marcus Rashford wouldn’t need to campaign to get children adequately fed. Yet to hear Johnson speak, it was all the mean, nasty catering services fault, and he was fighting alongside Rashford to try to get the poor, hungry children fed.

I’m sorry, but I find such hypocrisy sickening. Johnson’s flagrant attempt to rewrite obvious facts and frame himself alongside a man who is fast becoming a national hero makes my blood boil with rage. Kids are going hungry during lockdown because of Tory Meanness alone; if they funded and supported the catering organisations properly, this wouldn’t be a problem. Yet Johnson is doing what he’s always done: claim to be a champion of the oppressed, poor and weak, while in fact only caring about himself. As long as he looks good, others can starve for all that vain asshole cares; and if they do start to starve, he’ll never accept responsibility. He is a self-centred, opportunistic, hypocritical disgrace second only to Trump in my revulsion: neither scumbag should have ever been allowed anywhere near government.

Returning to a Fascinating Fascination

I’m currently feeling fairly pleased with myself. A while ago – I’ve forgotten exactly how – I got in touch with Christian Keathley, the American academic whose work my Master’s is broadly based upon. I emailed him a copy of my thesis and he said he enjoyed it, and we began to occasionally exchange emails and ideas. A few weeks ago, I decided to email him with a few of my recent ideas about how to develop my thesis: I know I finished my MA over six years ago, but it’s subject, cinephilia, still interests me, and it feels like the concepts I wrote about could be developed. The love of film and it’s manifestations seemed to be developing rapidly, especially online, but I didn’t know whether anyone else had picked up on that and started to theorise it. I thought I’d bite the bullet and ask Dr. Keathley what he thought, and a couple of weeks ago he kindly replied, suggesting two books he thought I might be interested in.

With my parents help (thanks Mum and Dad!) I managed to get hold of the two volumes of one of them, and sat down to read it after breakfast this morning. I usually just read things on my computer these days so I was a little out of practice turning pages; I also often get the screen reader to read things aloud to me, so the going was rather slow. Yet quite soon I found myself immersed in the subject of my thesis again: it all came flooding back. More to the point, I recognised in the book, published two or three years ago, many of the same ideas I had spoken about in my thesis. Others had obviously come to the same conclusions I had in my MA, which is enormously reassuring. Of course, this book goes much further than I did: Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction is evolving rapidly, and I have a lot of interesting new material to get into.

I spent about three hours reading this morning, and even then didn’t finish the introduction. It was slow going, but even so felt good to reacquaint myself with concepts which still intrigue me. What is it about film we love? How do we express that love? I’m not sure where I’ll go with this, but, having kept my own personal writing up it will hopefully help me develop my own ideas. And who knows: this could eventually lead to my reentry into academia.

Can fictional characters really die?

Are fictional characters ever truly dead? I just came across this Guardian article about Rowan Atkinson no longer wanting to play Mr. Bean, and Sasha Baron Cohen being bored of playing Borat. As the article itself says, it’s not hard to see where both men are coming from. Atkinson has been playing Bean since I was young, and there’s only so far you can go with a mute, slapstick clown. As we know from programs like Blackadder, Atkinson has much more to say; the same applies to Baron Cohen. At the same time, though, I don’t think you can rule anything out these days. Everyone thought we had seen the last of Monty Python in 1988, only for them to get back together in 2014. I think the most awesome thing about art is that you can never rule anything out, so when their creators say Mr. Bean and Borat have been laid to rest, who knows where that might lead? After all, we have heard others make similar statements before.

The American Abyss

It might be slightly on the long side, but I think this New York Times article, contextualising events in Washington this week, is worth a read. I’m sure most people will be as astonished as I was by what happened there: after all, you would expect the seat of American government to be one of the most secure buildings in the world, especially after 9/11. But, as the article explains, American society is deeply, frighteningly divided. Even after Trump goes, the wounds his four years in office are going to take years to heal. When you start playing around with what is real or true, disputing the outcome of an election just because it didn’t go your way, things start to get dangerous.

My new teeth-cleaning device

I received a late christmas present yesterday. Serkan had noticed the trouble I have brushing my teeth, so yesterday evening a parcel arrived containing a strange teeth-cleaning device. It’s a moulded rubber semicircle attached to a motor. You put toothpaste on it, put it into your mouth and it vibrates to clean your teeth. I was in two minds about it at first, but this morning during my shower we gave it a try. I must say I’m impressed – it beats arsing around with toothbrushes no end! It just took around thirty seconds, and didn’t feel that unpleasant; yet my teeth now feel cleaner than they have in ages. Whether it will incentivise me to clean my teeth a bit more often of course remains to be seen – other, more interesting things just seem to get in the way – but cool little gizmos like this certainly give it more appeal.

Spamalot the movie

I was just starting to wonder where to even begin to blog about the obvious subject of today’s entry, but I have just come across something far cooler and more cheerful. After their live shows of 2014, I assumed we had seen the last of Monty Python. Of course, I still count seeing those guys perform live with Lyn that night as one of the greatest events of my life. Yet it would seem we haven’t quite seen the last of Python – not quite anyway. According to this variety article among others, Paramount are now making a film adaptation of Spamalot. Details seem quite sketchy as yet, but Eric Idle has been working on a screenplay. This news cheers me up no end: it might not be the announcement of another live stage show a la 2014, but anything to do with the greatest comedy troupe ever piques my interest. It’s also news of a forthcoming film, so that gets me interested too. It will be interesting to see how they adapt it. After all, basing a film on a stage musical which was itself adapted from a film is rather weird when you think about it – you could almost call it Pythonesque.

My test Result

Just to follow up on yesterday’s entry, I got an email from the NHS last night to say that I’m perfectly fine and don’t have COVID. Serkan received the same message. At the same time, the news was unexpected and quite a relief. Of course, with the country entering another lockdown, it doesn’t change much: I still can’t really go anywhere, and there’s nowhere open to go to if I could. Nonetheless it’s reassuring to get the news that we’re both bug free.

Me and Masks

I’ve had a bit of a cough recently, so yesterday Serkan and I decided to go get tested for coronavirus. It seemed to make sense, as at least then we could be sure we didn’t have anything more dire than the normal little coughs I get from time to time. It meant a short, these days rare, bus ride to Plumstead, serkan following on his bike. It was a quick, straightforward process involving little sticks being rammed up my nose, and we’re expecting the results to arrive soon. Nothing to worry about really, but I just wanted to note it for one thing: while on the testing site, in a tent set up on a car park, I had to wear a surgical mask like everyone else. It was my first real experience of wearing a mask because I’m usually exempt, and I now know why. That thing was a pain in my arse! It got soaked with dribble almost immediately, and was constantly slipping down over my mouth and chin so that I was forever trying to pull it back up over my mouth and nose. Within five minutes I couldn’t wait to take it off. After so many months of not having to wear one I now see why some people are so resistant to them. Mind you, other people don’t dribble so their masks don’t get so infuriatingly damp; and they don’t have to stop driving their powerchairs every few metres in order to pull their mask back up.