Words By S.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

On Child Actors.

Filed under: Film,Television — S @ 5:05 pm

I am of the multitude of moviegoers that is prone to announcing, “ugh, I hate child actors” with the utmost disgust.

Normally, I avoid films in which there would be an abundance of child actor presence, however months ago, I saw the [Swedish] film “Let The Right One In” and it made me ever so slightly change my tune (but, not by a whole lot).

The film stars two 12 year old Swedish children, one who plays a vampire.   They were both very good actors – actually, all of the children in the film were very good actors.  And afterwards, my friends and I commented on how normal and typical “every day” everything in the movie seemed.

That, in addition some interviews and articles I have been reading, got me to thinking…  Perhaps I don’t “hate child actors,” for the ones I’ve seen in a number of films (including ones that I grew up watching) aren’t all bad (after all, one of my favorites was always the French short film ‘The Red Balloon”).  There is such a difference between child actors in British and American film, and other forms of cinema that perhaps I just hate the child actors that I see every day.

To me, there’s nothing more irritating and creepy than the Dakota Fannings and Haley Joel Osments of the world with their cherub faces, and well-before-their-time intellect.  It’s almost as if they’re pod people, or even robots, sent down to suck the lives out of the normal every day people of the world, merely by appearing on film.

And let’s not get started on the Olsen twins…

At the same time that I am freaked out by them, I also have no choice but to feel pity for them.  It’s almost like pageant children who are picked out because they’re “cute” and shoved into show business by money/fame hungry parents who may or may not have their best interest at hand (Jean Benet Ramsay, anyone?).

In addition, when the child actors grow up, most of the time, they’re never as “cute” as they were when they were 6 or 7, instead looking like some bizarre, older and caricatured version of their younger selves;  and they end up royally fucked up, coked out, and corrupted.

How and why does this happen?

On the rare occasion that it doesn’t happen, how is it that they escaped the “child actor curse”?

How often is it that we see former child actors parodying themselves on television sitcoms or cameoing their past characters in slapstick films?

Sometimes, though, I do enjoy child actors.  I like it when I see an adolescent that acts and seems like a normal human being.  I like it when they look normal, as well – like all the children in ‘Let The Right One In’.   To me, it  seems like they’re the types who are well-adjusted, and will grow up to be normal adults.  Perhaps even not getting stuck parodying themselves for the rest of their existence.

I guess it’s more that I pity child actors…

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Monday, 10 November 2008

And Again with the Port Authority.

As published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, last week:
 

Union says ‘work stoppage’ likely if Port Authority imposes contract
Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The union representing bus and trolley operators says a “work stoppage” is likely if the Port Authority imposes a contract of its own making Dec. 1 as planned.

If members of Local 85, Amalgamated Transit Union, go on strike or are locked out, public transit will be halted for people who account for 230,000 rides a day.

“They’ve painted us into a corner,” Local 85 President-Business Agent Pat McMahon said yesterday.

He plans to call a special meeting in the near future, “depending on when and where a hall is available,” and 2,300 rank-and-file members will be asked to authorize a job action that would likely take effect on Dec. 1, a Monday. That’s the day that the contract adopted by the authority board Oct. 24 is to be unilaterally imposed on the union.

“The more we look at this, if they go through with it, we have no choice but to do a work stoppage,” Mr. McMahon said. “The union will not stand for this. So citizens should be looking for this [service stoppage] because it’s what the Port Authority is forcing us to do.”

He said options would be discussed at the union’s mass meeting but contended any work stoppage should not necessarily be viewed as a strike.

“It could be deemed a lockout because the Port Authority is taking action that is illegal [by virtue of an imposed contract],” Mr. McMahon said. “Our members will have to authorize what we do.”

While authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland has heard talk of a possible job action, he said Mr. McMahon’s strike/lockout talk was the first time he had heard “anything authoritative.”

“We’re offering them excellent pay and benefits and we’re leaving the doors open, so how can that be called a lockout?” he said.

The imposed contract provides 3 percent annual wage increases over the next three years. It also raises the retirement rate to age 60 with 30 years of service in order for employees to receive lifetime health care benefits. It also incrementally raises employees’ health care contribution to the equivalent of 3 percent of the base wage, the same rate that management pays.

In return, the authority would be able to save a total of $13.3 million in its operating budget over the next three years. Legacy costs — the primary concern of County Executive Dan Onorato, who’s withholding $27 million in subsidies — could go down $115 million in the same period.

“[A strike is] something they have at their disposal if the union leadership has such a blatant and callous disregard for customers,” Mr. Bland said. “I’m not sure you turn down an offer when you’re making $24.25 an hour … so it boggles my mind that they would consider such a severe disruption of service to the community. If they do, it’s on their heads.”

Members of Local 85, who include operators, mechanics, first-level supervisors and other hourly employees, have remained on the job under terms of a contract that expired June 30.

Mr. McMahon said Local 85’s legal counsel will continue researching options to keep the board from putting an imposed contract into effect. He also said the union has sent a letter requesting the authority to resume negotiations.

“We’ve gotten no response,” Mr. McMahon said.

Mr. Bland said the only union meetings appropriate at this point would be to discuss implementation of the contract being imposed Dec. 1.

“Obviously, there are a lot of details to discuss but, absolutely, we have a contract that will go into effect,” he said. “It’s a responsible offer that doesn’t reduce wages or benefits. Our board made it very clear that we took this action as a last resort.”

Mr. McMahon said he had a copy of an office memorandum, not intended for his eyes, that discusses a 30 percent service cut and fare increases, some of which may be implemented no matter what the outcome of the labor dispute.

Mr. Bland called it a “draft” of ways that the authority might cope with its growing budgetary problems.

“We’ve been saying all along that if we don’t get a contract, we have to reduce service levels and raise fares,” he said. “For him [Mr. McMahon] not to think we haven’t been working on that stuff … that’s a fool’s paradise. It’s not a final plan and we’ve been working on all sorts of contingency plans, including a strike contingency plan.”

Joe Grata can be reached at jgrata@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1985.
First published on November 5, 2008 at 12:00 am

I am so enraged by the prospect of this, it’s not even funny.  Why make an entire city suffer rather than reasonably discussing contract terms that everyone can live with?

And what’s the big problem with these contract terms anyway?  Everything seems to be pointing towards positive – especially the pay increase.

What else could you possibly want?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Politics, Politicians, Political Mindedness… and S.

The media is buzzing with US politics, everywhere you turn.  This is the month for debates and finalizing decisions as, in a matter of weeks, we will be choosing our next “man for the job”.

Everyone is saying, “I’m so tired of this Bush fiasco”, “McCain = 4 more Bush years”, “Is Obama really the man for the job?” and let’s not even start on Sarah Palin.  Ugh.

During the past few months, I have been approached by a multitude of canvassers getting those last minute voter registrations done.  I have been asked a multitude of times whether or not I am an Obama supporter.  I get looks of shock when I reply…

…No!

I will repeat it again and again and again: I will not be voting for Barack Obama.  I will also not be voting for McCain.

I will, in fact, be voting for Ralph Nader (and Matt Gonzalez).

Watching the debates, reading platforms, educating myself on the candidates and their running-mates has sold me more and more on Nader than I had previously been.

It has also made me loathe the two-part system more and more.  In particular, when I get the response, “he’s running again?!”

 

I recently happened upon an “alternative news source” during the Biden/Palin debate called The Grist.  The Grist is an environmentally conscious online newspaper with a different, fresh spin on the world’s happenings, as well as election ’08 coverage.  And in this online newspaper are several interviews – each one with a major candidate from the democratic, republican, independent, and green parties.

Among the poignant questions that the interviews have asked, is the following (asked of each candidate interviewed): “What do you do personally to lighten your environmental footprint?”

For some reason, I find this question to be of particular importance.  I honestly think that the way this question is answered speaks very much about how a person views the world and says where their priorities are.  It essentially asks, how do you live your life and what is your world like?

McCain (R): We just moved from a very large house with swimming pool and grounds into a condominium, so we made a dramatic change. My daughter has a Prius. And we have a place up north where we have solar panels in some of the buildings. But we haven’t done enough, and we intend to do more.

Obama (D): We just bought a Ford Escape, so I traded in a non-hybrid for a hybrid. We are in the process of replacing our light bulbs in our house and trying to limit the use of our air conditioning, trying to make sure that we unplug and turn off all of our appliances when we’re not using them. It’s a fun project to work on with my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old.

McKinney (G): Well, I don’t consume very much. Where possible, I’m changing my shopping habits, in terms of the food that I buy. I choose to buy from the local folks as opposed to the mega folks. Of course, you have to go to the supermarket every once in a while to get stuff. I’m trying to live within the 200-mile rule of thumb in terms of my food consumption. As a black person, there’s a dearth of services generally and a lack of healthy food in the black community, so that’s been a challenge.

Nader (I): I consume very little except newspapers, and I recycle them. I don’t have a car. I’m the antithesis of the over-consumer.

Like most people (I would imagine), I want the person who is to make the large decisions about my world to be someone I can relate to and to be someone I can imagine walking in the shoes of.  To me, that gives me a little bit of ensurance that, were I to be in a position where I had to make a similar decision, there is a little hope that this person would come to a similar to conclusion.

As someone who chooses not to own a car, recycles as many goods as possible, and makes my own paper, I feel that Nader is that candidate.  And, as long as his values are the way that they are, he will be for a very long time.

Nader/Gonzalez 08

 

I also leave you with this little Grist/Nader goodie:

question If George Bush were a plant or an animal, what kind of plant or animal would he be?
answer Poison ivy. As for an animal, I wouldn’t demean any animal species that way. It’s easy to say coyote, but that’s a stereotype of animals. What carnivore has ever, as a species, done what Bush has done to the Iraqis?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

On Public Transportation.

The scene was typical: pedestrian approaches difficult to cross intersection; however standstill occurs with pedestrian, car, and bus.  Not wanting to get run over, pedestrian allows vehicles to go first, and then makes a run for the bus stop, only to have bus pull off.

And so begins “Public Transportation: A Rant.”

I realize that buses aren’t mandated to stop and wait for patrons to get to the bus stop and board.  I also realize that, as a patron, I should be at the stop before the bus gets there.  However, it is just common courtesy and decency for the bus driver to allow a person who is running for the bus to board.

In addition to the frequency of bus drivers to drive off without the patrons, the bus drivers have a tendency to range between ten and 45 minutes of tardiness.  This isn’t merely an annoyance, it’s an inconvenience – particularly when patrons have places to be… like work.

It is bad enough that the powers that be over at the Port Authority offices recently increased pricing on a very shoddy public transport system, but now the drivers want to go on strike.

Now, I may be flawed in my thinking, but shouldn’t the service be at it’s supreme before its employees decide to be demanding of whatever goods it is that they are seeking?

I find myself hard pressed to care about employees who are rude, perpetually late, and make my life all the more inconvenient as a result of that rudeness and lateness.

To the Port Authority employees, I say – get your acts together and provide a real service rather than a disservice before getting demanding and boycott happy.

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

Filed under: Film — S @ 10:17 pm
Tags:

Gonzo (adj.): Crazy; eccentric.

I had the pleasure of seeing this film today (when the entry starts off like that, you know it’s a good one).  As the title so succinctly puts it, Gonzo is a film about the life and work of the late journalist/author, Hunter S. Thompson.

Part biopic, part documentary, the film nicely fuses the works of Hunter with his life.  Chock full of interviews with friends, family, and important figureheads that were impacted by Hunter, as well as readings of his works by Johnny Depp, the film does a nice job summarizing his life and his legacy.

The film starts with a voice-over and scene of Hunter typing up an article about the September 11th attacks, the day that it happened.  In the article, he predicts the future of the world, as it is today.  From there, we delve into his life, and learn about the impact he would make on American society.

We follow the life of Hunter from his lower-middle class childhood in Kentucky to his trek to Aspen, Colorado.  Along the way, we get visual aids from archival footage via home movies, game shows (“will the real Hunter S. Thompson please stand up”), photographs, interviews and reenactments.  Hunter’s two wives and son also provide a lot of input into telling his story.

Throughout, the film is reinforced with readings from his books, done by Johnny Depp, and also clips of the films Fear and Loathing and Where The Buffalo Roam.

We learn about his friendship with artist Ralph Steadman as well as with lawyer Oscar Acosta.  We learn about his impact on the presidential candidates George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.  We also learn about his impact on American society as a whole, and subsequently the impact his fame would have on his family life.

The film did a good job of expressing Hunter’s brand of humor, showing his humanity, as well as showing his drug addled, gun wielding craziness.  And, when approaching the subject of his death, continued to express it with his brand of humor and eccentricity, without becoming overly sentimental and sappy.

A very good film, indeed.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Role of Sex in the Art House Film.

Filed under: Film,Popular Culture — S @ 7:38 pm
Tags: , ,

One evening, I decided to watch a documentary about sex in the indie film world.  The documentary was all about the use of real sex in art house films, as opposed to simulated sex.  It had the major art film players making commentary on the importance of using real sex and how it makes these films different from, not only their big budgeted Hollywood counterparts with their simulated sex, but also from pornography.

While I found it to be very interesting, subject matter-wise, the whole thing felt trite and pretentious (much like your average art house film).  For one, it left you with such statements as:

“In porn, you have the pizza boy who comes to the door and has sex with the lonely housewife, and that’s it. In an art film, you might have the pizza boy who comes to the door and is turmoiled and finds out who he is and his meaning through having sex with the lonely housewife.”

Therefore the difference between an art film and porn is… plot.  The pretentious filmmakers also used the documentary as a soapbox to make social commentary and assumed that anyone who opposes their use of real sex in films is “afraid of sex”:

“I hope that people will be less afraid of sex in movies and less afraid of sex in their own lives.”

Really?

How typical/predictable/any other synonym you can think of.

I didn’t like your piece of crap film that was sex-laden and weak-plotted, therefore I must be afraid of sex.  Your film couldn’t have just sucked.

The best example of an art film that utilizes actor/actress actually engaging in intercourse is Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs.  I was intrigued when it was initially released, however I never went to see it.   Normally, I am one for forming my own opinion after watching a film, however this time I allowed numerous reviews (both positive and negative) do the dirty work – so to speak.

The plot of 9 Songs, for those that don’t know, is: American girl goes to study at a school in England, and she and English lad “fall in love”.  The entire story is told through the young man’s fond memories of his first love.  They include nine indie rock shows (hence the title), and lots of sex.   From what I understand, there is not much acting in this film – the minimal dialogue that is in the film is 100% improvised, the concerts come from stock footage, and the sex comprises probably about 90% of the film.

The selling point of the film is supposed to be the “real sex” – even highlighted by the movie poster:

Essentially, what Michael Winterbottom appears to have done is to attempt to see just how much sex and nudity he could get away with by creating a 69 (get it?) minute amateur porn under the guise of “art film;” and naturally, Winterbottom fans sopped it up as a “great/important/beautiful work of art”.

From what I understand, the actress (Margo Stilley) has attempted to remove her name from this film.  I guess she must be afraid of sex too, huh?

The documentary didn’t make me feel one way or another about the use of real versus simulated sex in film, but it did make me highly irritated with the pretension and self-importance of indie filmmakers.  For one, I can fully understand when sex (real or not) is used to aid a story (i.e. Requiem For A Dream), but not when sex is used as a shock factor in a film that has no real story or a weak plot.  Lastly, I find it highly insulting for anyone, let alone a filmmaker, to assume that his consumer is closed-minded or afraid of sex just because they don’t eat up the product.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Life Crisis.

Filed under: Life — S @ 9:52 pm
Tags: ,

I find it infinitely interesting to look at how our pasts form who we are as people now, and how our present situations and selves go on to shape our future selves.

I can’t help but to think of the now clichéd phrase “history repeats itself” and wonder how much of that is true of our personal lives.

If it does ring true for personal history, as well as world history, how aware are we of it occurring? Is it like the movie Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray’s character takes a while to catch on to the fact that he’s waking up, doomed to repeat the events of that particular day indefinitely?

I like to think of myself as self-aware enough to know when I am turning into something I do not wish to become, and as such, I like to think that I have full control over what my future self will become. But living according to such a philosophy would imply that one is capable of wielding power over the events that unfold.

From time to time, I find myself becoming very disinterested and underwhelmed with my life the way it is, and as such, I decide to make drastic changes to alter it. Afterall, if things are in a static state, it’s up to us to be proactive, yes?

Such is the state in which I am currently residing.

Everyone talks about the “mid-life crisis” and the tell-tale signs of the 50-year-old man driving the Porsche, and having the 20-year-old strumpet on his arm. But, does the crisis only apply to 50-year-olds?

Think back to your teens and twenties, and all those times you felt discontent, uncomfortable in your own skin, and like you needed change. It’s quite possible, I think, that we have life crises at every decade. Lately, I’ve been hearing the term “mid-20’s crisis” being tossed around casually, and I do wonder how much it rings true.

Perhaps the life crisis doesn’t get examined at other ages due to the low percentage of people that are in settled lifestyles in their 20’s and just getting settled in their 30’s. Perhaps the teen crisis is looked at as “normal” because adolescents are still developing who they are as people. When you’re in your 40’s, you’re generally still supposed to be harnessing your parental skills and/or sending your children off to college and getting re-acclimated to life without children around, yes?

It is quite possible that due to the lack of any seemingly major lifestyle changes in the years after 49 – aside from menopause and retirement – the only thing 50-year-olds have is the mid-life crisis.

How depressing of a thought that is.

In any case, I am rather optimistic that history does not repeat itself, and that it serves only to teach us lessons on how to become the people we want to/will ultimately become. And, instead of succumbing to my mid-20’s crisis and fear of having my existence become obsolete, proactivity sounds like a much better option.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Artist Chasing.

Filed under: Ramblings,Relationships — S @ 7:58 pm

When I was in my teens, I only wanted to be involved with artistic men.  I repeatedly went after artists, actors, musicians, writers… Any sort of artistic expression served as an aphrodisiac for me.

I then started to date a writer.

In my naivety,  I thought we would have the deepest possible connection.  In my fantasies of artistic men, we would spend hours discussing components of their crafts and the important figures.  This writer and I, we would discuss the best writers and books.

In reality, all we had in common was sex.  I hated everything about him before too long, and when I broke it off with him, he cried and I hated him even more.  And, before long, I went after my next artistic conquest.

Until recently, I could never figure out why artistic men were such a draw for me.

One drunken Halloween night in college, I met a drunken Dylan Thomas.  I forget what I was – perhaps that was the year my friend and I went around handcuffed  as thieves.  This drunken Dylan Thomas putting on a fake accent was the most beautiful man I’d seen, in person, in a very long time.  I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that was drawing me to him so, aside from his amazing looks, height, and talent for faking accents.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I attended an amazing poetry reading put on by some friends of mine.  The Dylan Thomas was there, less drunk, and accent-less, but still very striking.

He’s an amazing poet.

Years later and the draw that I thought went away remains.  I now, however, realized that when I was in my adolescence, I wanted to be a muse.

I sometimes, even now, sit and fantasize of how awesome it would be to have the idea of myself immortalized in someone’s craft.

Now, ten years later, I no longer actively seek out those artistic types.  I hate actors.  I’m friends with poets and writers.  I, myself, was a bit of a musician.  Ten years have passed and now, my only goal to is to find someone with less baggage than I have.

Funny how those things change.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Control.

Filed under: Film,Music — S @ 10:15 am

Control movie poster

Over the weekend, I saw Anton Corbijn’s Control. In case you couldn’t tell from the movie poster, it is the story of Joy Division front-man, Ian Curtis.

If you know Joy Division, you know about the “untimely” death of Ian, and the subsequent outcome of those involved in his life.

I wrote a previous blog entry about the book ‘Touching From A Distance’, from which this movie is largely based. In that entry, I mentioned not being able to feel anything for Ian, Deborah, or any of the involved parties. I also mentioned that the book had the tone of being a self-pitying, victimization of the writer.

While the film still produced a disconnect between me and the involved parties, there seemed to be less of the victimization of Deborah Curtis, but I’ll get to that a little later.

In my head, Control was going to be an amazing story of this enigmatic man. It was going to humanize him, tell more about his life, how the band started, how the affair began, and possibly delve into why it was that he committed suicide.

It was going to be a fantastical tale of a boy growing up in “suburban” Manchester, his family life, his relationship with a young Deborah, and his relationship with his music. It was going to be a young Ian running around with a young Peter Hook, boys being boys.

We were going to get the history of the band in all its forms. There was going to be Stiff Kittens, followed by Warsaw, followed by Joy Division. There was going to be Joy Division vs. The Fall – when, where, why? It was going to give more information than the 30 minute segment from ’24 Hour Party People’.

Instead, what I got was little more information than what I already knew.

Yes, the majority of the information came from Deborah Curtis’ ‘Touching From A Distance’, but all of New Order, Tony Wilson, and the like were involved. Somewhere in there, between all of them involved, there should have been a little more light shed on the story.

I guess my problems with the movie fall on the writing.

The acting was quite good, everyone pulled off their parts well. Sam Riley played a very convincing Ian Curtis – and even managed to get the spastic, epileptic seizure-like dance moves down. Samantha Morton played a very good Deborah. Bernard, Hooky, and Morris were all very well played. Toby Kebbell as Rob Gretton was absolutely hilarious. However, Craig Parkinson as Tony Curtis left a lot more to be desired.

In ’24 Hour Party People’, Steve Coogan’s Wilson was over the top, loony, and funny in the best of ways. He was sarcastic, he was a dick, he had dimension. In ‘Control’, Parkinson’s Wilson was subdued, low-key, and boring. I quite understand that in ’24 Hour’ Wilson was the major focus, as the film was about Factory Records, La Hacienda, and all things Tony. This doesn’t mean that he should be so boring as a secondary character. Tony Wilson was never a boring, stale person at all.

That was a major disappointment.

The music in the film was utterly fantastic. This sort of goes without saying, my being a Joy Division fan. However, the music was done by the actors, performed live on set just for the movie. It could have been disastrous. It could have been Sam Riley attempting to clone Ian Curtis’ vocal nuances at every turn, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was Sam Riley not really attempting to sound too much like Curtis at all,and in turn making the music his own. And it was done extremely well. “Bernard Sumner”, “Peter Hook” and “Steven Morris” all did amazingly well at making the music their own, as well. It was refreshing to hear a re-creation of the music, rather than a carbon copy. It was almost like hearing a reincarnate Joy Division.

It was also refreshing to see humor throughout this film. It would have been very easy to make a doom and gloom piece about Ian Curtis and Joy Division. After all, your subject matter is a man who killed himself at the age of 23, a band whose music was quite moody, and this legendary band who people take very seriously. It’s very easy to forget that they were still all very young, and had friendships from very young ages. The humor – dry in some spots, and crass in others, was very appropriate and did humanize them to a degree. There were the usual 20 year-old male fart and sex jokes, and antics. It’s not so often that you would see such a thing in a movie like this one.

As I mentioned before, I expected more about Ian’s affair. In her book, Deborah Curtis mentions finding out about Ian’s affair with Annik Honoré, the Belgian music journalist. She talks about how Ian and Annik managed to keep their affair going with the help of band members and Tony Wilson sheltering the two of them. In the movie, the start of the affair is shown, and Ian grappling with his feelings for both Annik and his wife, but not much else is shown.

In ‘Touching From A Distance’, Deborah portrays herself as a helpless victim, slighted by this affair. She portrays herself as clueless as to what was happening, and unable to do anything about it once she found out. In the film, however, Deborah is portrayed as having some backbone and standing up for herself. In the film, she confronts Ian several times, and eventually asks for a divorce – as I’m sure she did in real life. In the film, Deborah is portrayed as a fairly charming, plain woman who knows what she wants and knows how to stand up for it. She’s fairly clever, and funny. She’s utterly sympathetic, allowing the audience to feel for her. I’m sure this was what Deborah was attempting to convey in the book, but something was lost in translation between brain and pen, and this picture was askew. The film helped to bring this portrayal of her back to the masses.

The portrayal of Annik Honoré as “the other woman” was pretty one-dimensional.  I’m sure the fact that Deborah Curtis was involved in production had a little to do with this.  And though she was the “other woman”, it would have been nice to give her some dimension and shed some light on what the fuss was all about.  After all, if you’re going to continue an affair for years, there has to be something there besides sex.

Overall, Control proves to be a good companion piece to 24 Hour Party People and ‘Touching From A Distance’.  It was an okay film.  It doesn’t shed much more light on any one aspect of Ian’s life than anything else has.  It didn’t make me feel any more or less than what I already had for any of the  parties involved.  In short, it wasn’t a life changing, epic, stunning film.  It was a run of the mill, story of a man and a band and an affair that was shot very prettily.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

New Years, Redux.

Filed under: Popular Culture,Seasonal — S @ 12:44 pm

I am not a very big magazine reader. I mostly pop them open when there’s a lull period at work, or when I am in a waiting room for the doctor or dentist.

When I was a young, impressionable youth, I had subscriptions to Seventeen and YM. This was mostly because I loved to read embarrassing tales from other teens – they were all the same, “my pad became exposed!”, “I embarrassed myself in front of my crush in these number of ways!” etc., etc., etc. And, although I knew the stories never changed, they filled me with hours of comedy.

I look at the “grown up” magazines in very much the same manner as YM and Seventeen – the content is always the same, the problems that need advice are always the same. The major difference is that now, instead of having an exposed pad or a gnarly pimple, women want to know “how to please my man the most” and “how you know it’s time to move in together”. However, in the New Years editions, the content is always about the brand new diet and exercise regimes, having a fulfilling sex life, the New Years’ fashion and make up trends, and et all.

Being that I only read these types of magazines at work, or waiting rooms before getting poked and prodded, some of the volumes are from years before. And yet, the relic issues are always the same as the brand new, bright and shiny ones.

Always.

This got me to thinking, why is it that New Years resolutions never change? Why is it that everything gets recycled?

If your resolution is always some lofty, nearly unattainable goal – why even bother?

Why are the resolutions always appearance or money related?

Who cares if you lose 10 pounds by Valentine’s so that you can buy a new red dress (because Red is the new Blue)? Who cares if you have that credit card paid off by January 30th, just so you can max it out again?

Why not make a resolution to broaden yourself in some way? Why not make a resolution to pick up a new hobby, accomplish something tangible – such as read a handful of classics this year or get a pen pal with whom to practice letter writing?

I thought that was the original point of the New Years Resolution – to enhance yourself, and to change for the better every year. Instead, New Years has turned into debt and starvation.

If your New Years goal is the same year after year after year, why even bother making a resolution at all?

And so, my New Years resolution is to have no resolution at all.

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