28 March 2010

Bard allaying boredom

While I wait for Devon Sproule's Keep your Silver Shined to sound sublime, which it only does when accompanying SUN, barbeques, ice cream and bare legs that stick to chairs, I keep myself occupied with slices and slivers of things that are charming.

Such as dancing on the top floor with a barefoot friend, followed by an impromptu waltz that sweeps the crowd. Three-way waltzing is a treat, if one spins to the right beat.

Another thing that makes everything a little brighter is believing that the second Star Wars trilogy was never made. Then re-imagining them written and directed by Michel Gondry or David Lean, rather than the disillusioned George Lucas.

Perfect escapism also comes in the form of Franco Zeffirelli films. I want to live in a Zeffirelli world. It seems to be perpetual twilight, and looks ever so pre-Raphaelite. His 1968 Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is all free love, flowing hair and fluttering eyelashes. And Juliet almost looks as young as Shakespeare intended her to be, which is rare, and therefore the tragedy and adolescent emotion is heightened. I only just realised that Miranda in The Tempest is also pretty young - only fifteen. But Miranda is pathetic, a rubbish Shakespearean heroine. If one can even call her a heroine. Granted, her father is a bastard with super powers who won't let her kiss with tongues, but Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Rosalind and Beatrice wouldn't have taken any of that crap. And Ophelia always remains a favourite - I don't get Hamlet, but Ophelia fascinates me. Tousled, sing-song, airy-fairy floaty with flowers, ending in a tragic watery farewell. Millais did her proud. Though I don't imagine her in shades of green, rather a faded red or dusky kind of pinkish.

The light may soon be changing to that of a Zeffirelli film set. And Devon will sound as she should. And dancing barefoot will become second nature.

23 March 2010

A hot air balloon of youthful enthusiasm

Sneezes are small explosions that are disrupting my learning. My final learning. Less than a week of learning left...Then I will have learned all the things. Though perhaps not all the Things. That comes later. After university.

Some of my final learning was about butterfly personalities. Being stimulated in all sorts of ways. Indeed.
And about Fourier's manias. Apparently manias are excellent and important. His was for lesbians. He also thought that brackish sea water should be turned into lemonade, into something drinkable. This is a good idea.
And about Sadian logic constructed by Barthes, and that 'obviously' the Marquis de Sade and Fourier are connected. Obviously. Duh. I don't know why these names were said over and over and over, at the same time as books and 'isms' were being thrown about willy nilly. This I still need to learn.
Sodom also seemed to come into things. Maybe I need to learn about Sodom.

Other learning has consisted of watching the first series of Queer as Folk in one happy Sunday, then chatting about it with academics at an ungodly hour. And also discussing the lyrics of So Long Marianne and Suzanne. And also looking up youtube videos with Kiwi tutors of his ukelele-playing colleague in The Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

I don't understand all the learning. But that's fine. The things that matter stick. Like butterflies, lemonade and Leonard Cohen...

15 March 2010

A Victorian Romantic

I have discovered another heroine. I shall add her to my collection. The collection of heroines I keep in a box. It's a bit like those music boxes with the tiny rotating ballerinas twirling on a mini pedestal, but each time I open it there is a different one of my heroines doing whatever they do best to the lyrical tones of 'I wisssshh I could be yooooouu'.

In this particular case, the heroine will be taking photographs as she twirls to the camera flash.

Julia Margaret Cameron was an ugly duckling. Her mother was an aristocratic French belle, and her sisters were nick-named things like 'Beauty' and 'Dash'. She was dubbed 'Talent'. Cutting. But she lived up to this label with flair.

Born in Calcutta and educated in France, she chose to live on the Isle of Wight from 1860 onwards. Then, aged 48, she was given a camera.

Her photographs are like Pre-Raphaelite paintings, all soft focus and fairy tales. She created a series of Arthurian scenes, with many costumes and limp poses and far-away looks. Religion and literature were her inspiration, and her models dressed up and posed in her chicken shed. Feathered angel wings amongst the poultry. She used ordinary people as her models, 'arresting' them in order to make them pose for her creations. Her Arthur was a strapping young chap who made deliveries on the Isle, and during the Idylls of the King photographic process the locals became impatient due to him being kept in his Arthur guise for hours on end.
The photographs are beautiful. They are over the top, romantic, of another era, yet she believed in them as ART. Rightfully so.

Tennyson was a neighbour of hers. They chatted over cups of sugar (I hope). She created photographic portraits of him, Darwin, Browning, Millais, Burne-Jones, William Rossetti, Ellen Terry - all greats of the age, all of romantic sensibilities. And all magically made immortal and ethereal by her intentionally out-of-focus lens.

And, as if she couldn't be esteemed any higher or be any more AWESOME in my eyes, she was the great-aunt of Virginia Woolf.
I would love to escape to her Isle of Wight world. I could do this through reading Woolf's comic slip of a play Freshwater. Or by simply gazing into her photographs.

11 March 2010

Thing Theory

The Thingness of Things is an actual Thing. It was used in a King Lear lecture and everything. By a man who knows Such Things. Probably everyThing.

Things like knickers, school uniform and saucepans. All purchased in John Lewis.

And looking glasses, and feathers and buttons. Thou art the thing itself.

6 March 2010

For Leonhart

I made a smudged interpretation of a fuchsia,
Muddied onto the page in Ireland,
Where dogs are named for the wrong star,

I find my way by fuchsia-bush Satnav,
The crushed petals plotting a map;
Second stigma from Tufnell Park
And straight on till Hampstead.
The map is now well-trodden,
Releasing rotting perfumes
Just as Ronald releases nausea when
The flowers are beneath his foot.

Phew, she said whilst drowning,
No longer playing the heroine
Of an exhausting gothic melodrama.
She had peaked, but now prefers
To float as a mannequinned martyr.
She chassées into futile cha chas
Down the sewaged moat,
Making her red gown wilt.

Wash, dry, rustle taffeta,
And silk shot with scarlet,
Vining, veining, blotting blood
That scabs with fine flesh tissues.
Expose those billowing bloomers,
A shade darker than the tutu,
And dangle tiny ballet slippers,
Quiver, caught in gentle gusts.

Grown beneath my smudged interpretation
Is the greatest compliment I ever had;
A copy of my flower, stuck with


4 March 2010


Everything's purple except the red beret. And there's bones in the Quad, and I'm all milkshake and flapjack. And Maud is a rose lily queen gem ghost, never HER. And I want a t-shirt saying 'I shot the Albatross'.

And your face is a stream of consciousness that I don't want to row down.
And your feet look like Tony Benn.