Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Conscious Uncoupling

I like to spend some time every day reading. I am currently working my way through the complete poems of Alan Ginsburg, reading The First Kingdom for the fifth time and reading a book about television by that guy who wrote the good book about folk music. 

I like to spend some time every day writing: that's the only way I can justify not working full time, and indeed, continuing to exist at all. I am not a very quick writer: I generally have to free-write at random; select the sensible bits; edit them into a pattern, and then revise three or four times. 

I have a couple of schemes to promote books about my better chunks of writing (Jesus and Spider-Man) in various ways. Editing a podcast takes much longer than you would think, even when you take into a count that editing a podcast takes much longer than you would think.

I hold a season ticket for the Everyman cinema and like to see as many movies as possible: big geeky ones and proper serious grown up ones. Last week we saw Ralph Fiennes pretending to be Macbeth; next week we will finally get around to seeing Jim Moriarty pretending to be all the parts in Uncle Vanya. For a long time I thought that Waiting For Godot and Hamlet between them said everything that there was to say about anything, but I have more and more added Uncle Vanya to the list. I want to see Civil War at some point.

Bristol and Bath are very well supplied with live theatre: in the next ten days I am hoping to see a rap musical about the American constitution and a play about everyone being very repressed and hot in the Deep South. I forget if it's the one about the cat or the one about the tram. There is also a one man show re-imagining Lear's fool as a VR influencer, or something. 

I like to go t o live folk music  -- there was a Bristol Folk Festival last weekend and a Bristol Sea Shanty festival next weekend  and a gig I really ought to go to on Thursday. (The Buffalo Skinners, since you ask, with a local trad fiddle outfit called Freedom For Travelling People and another local punky folk outfit called Poor Old Dogs.) And to my utter and complete astonishment, I have actually started to sing myself, for certain values of singing, at pub sing-arounds and shanty sessions, and the applause seems in some cases to have gone from "polite" to "enthusiastic" although there may also be some element of "ironic". But that involves spending evenings in pubs drinking beer. One suffers for one's art. 

I also like to watch television programmes. I finally got to the end of The Bad Batch this week. I was kind of hoping there would be a Big Reveal and that everyone would die. Neither of those things happened, but it was very exciting: the action scenes are as good as anything in the movies. The is now a new thing called Tales of the Empire. Tales of the Jedi was very good indeed, although probably aimed a little too firmly at people who care about the lore, such as myself. I can't see that I will have a slot to sit down and watch any of that until this time next week. I am very keen to find out if The Three Body Problem is any good; and would ideally like to catch up with the last two iterations of Star Trek (Discovery and Strange New Worlds). The cartoon I watched a couple of episodes of and didn't find that funny. 

I occasionally like to drink coffee and even beer with human beings as well. 

I think I have currently got about as close to a lifestyle that works for me as I ever have. But like Christopher Robin, I don't do as much Nothing as I used to. Unless sitting in my chair reading 1960s beat poets and obscure graphic novels counts as Nothing, which I think it does. 

I have said several times that it is a Bad Idea to read a book or watch a movie simply in order to make snarky remarks about it on a blog; although in fairness I have a morbid fascination with Rings of Power and will probably not be able to look away from the next series. (It's so bad it's bad, as they say.) But I never went to see the second and third editions of the Abomination (i.e Abrams' Trek parody) and have avoided various evangelical Jesus TV shows that "everyone" is talking about. 

To come to the point: I am not saying that I will never watch the new Disney time travel show. Almost certainly, sometime in the next three to four years, I will. 

But it is very unlikely to be the next thing I watch.

And the fact that I feel the need to tell everyone this rather proves that the whole thing as got a bit out of hand. 


Andrew Ducker said...

There sure is a lot of content out there!

I'm looking forward to getting to see some of it once my children are a little older.

Anonymous said...

I gather there is a new LOTR movie in the pipeline?

Pete Ashton said...

I found myself tearing up a bit at the last scene of Bad Batch, which is a ridiculous state of affairs for a 51 year old man to be welling up at a fucking Star Wars cartoon, but there it is. Bastards.

Harry said...

I liked the Bad Batch ending. Along with Clone Wars (not to be confused with The Clone Wars) I think that now makes more sense and a better story than Revenge of the Sith. Not that RotS didn't have its good moments, but they were few ad far between.

Apparently Andy Serkis and co. have decided to make a film about The Hunt for Gollum, and that's the title it's been given for now. Whether it'll be any better than the short fan film with the same title that came out in 2009 remains to be seen, but if you have any interest in the latter I suggest you watch it now before New Line's Nazgul dress up as lawyers.

Unknown said...

There is a new LotR movie. Andy Serkis is involved and its title is The Hunt for Gollum. Whether it will be any better than the shory 2009 fan made film with the same title remains to be seen.

If you want to see that, hie thee to before New Line's Nazgul dress as lawyers in black and descend screaming "retroactive plagarism" and other vile oaths.

Andrew Rilstone said...

Not in any sense dissing the Bad Batch. I had the same problems everyone else had with I-III and VII-IX, but within three minutes of The Mandalorian starting up, I had a sense of "We've finally come home", and I've felt pretty much the same about everything else in the TV universe. Clone Wars/Bad Batch and Rebels/Ashoka are the best texts which aren't Episode IV. The way it all slots together into a non-linear metaverse, while staying true to the core idea of "swash buckling pulp space opera". (Granted Andor was slightly darker, but it was still pulp space opera.)

I suppose if we are hard-core Tolkien fans, we have got used to there being potentially three time-lines for "Middle-earth" (the Lost Tales, the Published Silmarillion, and the Putative Revised Silmarillion); so we should be able to cope with an a fourth "TV version". I heard someone the other day saying that only (geeks or saddos or wokies -- I forget the exact term of abuse) were worried about canon, because Tolkien's books were "really" about love and loyalty and friendship. It seems to me that of all the big universe, Tolkien's is the one most irreducibly bound up with the fictional history. So I can't get over excited about semi-official fan fic. The Lord of the Rings movies worked as movies; the Hobbit movies were unwatchable and the sexy-Sauron TV show was risible. There is stuff in the Appendices that you could spin a "search for Gollum" TV show from, I suppose; I am not sure that Andy Serkis's ownership of the character ought to be encouraged. I still prefer Peter Woodthorpe. I suppose I defended the musical, which dispensed with a lot of narrative but seemed to "get" the themes. But there's twelve volumes of Tolkien's actual writing about Middle-earth to re-read: I am not quite sure I need anyone making up any more of it. I used to think Conan was incredibly dull until I read the twenty or so stories REH actually wrote with his own typewriter.