The Hunt

The Hunt. This is an amazing film.

The film starts in a small Danish village; a cheerful comradely atmosphere appears. At the weekend the men hunt and swim in the lake. On Monday morning a man strolls into work, children frolic…

The man works in a nursery and a young girl accuses him of something. The teacher in charge believes the vague accusations completely and calls in an expert who interprets the child’s awkwardness with the story as proof. The trajectory of evidence follows that of the sexual abuse scandals in day care centres in the 1980s.

The rumour spreads and the man is vilified in his community. There is no evidence that nothing happened. No doubt of the mans innocence is placed in the mind of the audience yet the story is completely believable and I could see it happening in my own community.

The story arc, atmosphere and portrayal of evil reminded me very much of The Plague (Albert Camus).

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Eating alone

When I was pregnant with my son I drew up a list of things I wanted to do (or to have done), things that would somehow mark my independence. On the list was ‘eat alone in a restaurant’. I did. I felt mildly self conscious but not very. I read my book and ate soup whilst watching the rain fall into the canal.

 Little did I know this was the beginning of a long career of solo eating. I now have a job that requires frequent travel and I tend to doo it alone. The first trip I took to London I ate in the hotel. This was a disaster, the restaurant had a table of 6 builders and me. I felt terribly self conscious and the food was awful. Stuff it I thought if I’m gong to feel self-conscious I will eat good food. I’ve never looked back and will happily eat alone preferably with a book or a paper. I enjoy the peace and solitude; using the time to think and observe my surroundings.

Well meaning waiters have tried to help, in Slovenia I was once sat with another lone traveller, that was bad. Think of a female Woody Allen, she talked about herself incessantly and what began as funny became dull. I felt trapped and unable to get away. Another time a waiter bought me a rose and drew smiley faces on the receipt (it was great to meet you).

In Nigeria when travelling with colleagues there was an expectation that we would eat together. They were slightly dull and embarrassed me by making a fuss about the service and the wine list. Meals were overly long and formal and I wished I could order in my own haphazard way (two side dishes but nothing else, or starter and desert). As a vegetarian finding three things I wish to eat in a rational order when travelling can be awkward.

Eating with others I always worry about the cutlery; will I know which fork to use? I once went to a wedding and accidentally stole the brides fork. I had never met the bride before, nor had such a fancy meal. I get obsessively angry about table manners. My brother used to eat with his mouth open in a deliberate attempt to wind me up. It worked, if I have to eat with someone who chews with their mouth open they must have thick skin and therefore not notice the murderous glances I throw them across the table.

But now I need never eat alone again. A website has been launched to help women like me. We can meet up and eat together as surely eating with anyone has got to be better than eating alone. No men though, men are dangerous and don’t need to find each other for meals they can just buy hunks of meat and rip them apart with their bare hands. As they would do with strange women they might meet for lunch.

http://inviteforabite.com/

 

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911

I’ve seen 911 three times. This is something of a confession as I didn’t intend to see them at all. Just the thoughts make me feel slightly clammy. You see I love live music.

I saw the Stone Roses before they were famous, when they were still wearing tight bleached jeans and had had a write up in the Withington Reporter. I saw James when they played gigs for free (memorably on the roof of Piccadilly records). I saw Sonic Boom after the split with Spaceman 3. I saw Johnathon Richman when he couldn’t remember the chords for his song. I saw Porno for Pyros when Jane’s Addiction attempted to reform. I met Half Man Half Biscuit after a gig at the Wheatsheaf in Stoke on Trent. I went to an Alanis Morrisette gig before she was famously ironic. I went to the Primal scream Extmnr gig in Leeds when they crowd starting throwing things on stage and they threatened the crowd back. I saw iliketrains when they were still showing slides of trains on stage. I saw Chumbawamba when they were still cancan dancing nuns.

My favourite bands don’t have record labels and the ‘big names’ I listen to are critically acclaimed. So how did I come to see 911 three times and what were they like? I was given a ticket to the Clothes Show Live, I took my brother to the Smash Hit Poll Winners Party and they played the Stourbridge Party in the Park. What were they like? Quite pretty, did some dancing of a street style. Nothing memorable about the music whatsoever. I believe there was music but it had no life it was just like watching them on TV. Not that I would watch them on TV. The only thing that was really memorable was the smash Hit Poll Winners Party which was populated mainly by screaming young girls…very young screaming girls with banners reading ‘We love you’ jumping up and down with excitement as Daddy Mack sang…horny horny horny….

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The Long Earth Terry Pratchett

I liked this book but I didn’t quite ‘get it’.

It is discovered that there are multiple worlds, multiple earths each slightly different that can be reached by ‘stepping’ into the next world, like twisting a fraction of a degree and seeing/being somewhere else.

The observations of character were clever, funny and evocative. They felt like recognisable Pratchett.

Sister Agnes was definitely religious, in a weird kind of way. At the Home, Sister Agnes had two pictures on the walls of her cramped room: one of them was of the Sacred Heart, the other was of Meat Loaf. And she played old Jim Steinman records far too loudly for the other Sisters

It was the plot or the atmosphere of the book that felt unexpected. I once saw an Iranian road movie where a pair went on a journey; they travelled from one place to another without really getting or heading anywhere. At around 1 hour 30 they realised they hadn’t taken anything to drink and turned round and went home. This had the same kind of atmosphere, just one thing happening after another rather than a plot to draw the reader in and along.

When I got to the end of the book I wasn’t clear it had finished.

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Everything sounds a bit folky

I’ve been listening to new music as well as old and I can’t help noticing that Indie music seems more folkie than it used to. Some of the old bands (Chumbawamba, Vaselines) have become folkier and new bands seem happier to acknowledge folk roots (see the Mercury Prize list).

This is new stuff I’m listening to. This list is less well formed than my old music list- it’s bands rather than songs and not necessarily all time favourites.

For lying in bed watching the rain

It begins with a cover of Pavements Summer Babe buts its nice and very chilled.

A taste of summer

The Undercover Hippy

http://music.undercoverhippy.com/track/boyfriend

Fusion of guitars and drum and bass lyrics.

Teencanteen

The PreNew All of the albumn Music for People who Hate Themselves is brilliant.

And of course no list is complete without Babyhead

http://babyhead.co.uk

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Sing me a song:old time music

I’ve been listening to music and am delighted to find many bands I assumed had vanished are still around. Here’s my mix tape recreated for the Internet age…(these are all old newer songs to follow).

Paleface ‘Burn ‘n’Rob

This is a song about Judas Priest (of course) who was tried in Arizona for inciting suicide And it’s a great bad day song.

Daniel Johnston 1989 Blues

‘I didn’t mean no harm on purpose’ a song for regret.

Teenage Fanclub Eveybody’s Fool

Pastels Tea Time Song

I can’t take too much of the Pastels as they can be a bit twee but I like this.

Pooh Sticks Teenage High

Television Personalities I know where Syd Barrett Lives

Syd Barrett She took a long cold look

Cathy Rich Wild Thing

Denise and Co Take me as I am

I love this song.

Ciccone Youth

Hi Everybody

Death Valley 69

This version is recorded as Sonic Youth-the Ciccone Youth version was slightly stripped own but I can’t find it.

That’s all I know right now

(Sonic Youth-I can’t find it online buts it’s the best SY ever). UPDATE I found it, bit of a love song.

http://www.myspace.com/music/player?sid=45925&ac=now

Stooges I wanna be your dog

Not entirely sure it’s a good thing Iggy is still playing-saw him a couple of years ago and he was insane.

Vaselines Teenage Superstar


Vaselines The day I was a Horse
(couldn’t find decent recordings online)

UPDATE: The Vaselines have reformed and rerecorded the brilliant ‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For a Sunbeam’..The new albumn Sex with an X looks good too.

Pastels Ditch the Fool

Spaceman 3 How does it feel?

I was more of a Sonic Boom fan, saw him gig after Spaceman 3 had split.

Daniel Johnston Careless Soul

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A lost world

Church

Church

Gatepost

Ferns
Terraced

Cross

Church
Church

 

Staying on the island of Inis Ni (Inishnee) off the coast of Roundstone, Connemara we notice that the island has a looped walk.

The web map for the walk mentions a graveyard as being worth seeing and poignant in its setting.

The map reveals the site to be next to our cottage. We nearly miss it until I cycle the loop and notice the sign on a gate post.

It would seem rude not to explore and so we take a look. The site overlooking the sea is home to the ruins of a medieval church and rows of graves amongst the ferns.

It is unusually stunning because of its simplicity. The graveyard is terraced and in places ferns have been cut back to reveal the stones. Most just seem to be boulders. Some are shaped or inscribed.

The church is very small, its siting has been tempered by the bedrock breaking through the bracken.

There are a number of tumbledown cottages on the island and I begin to get a picture of a very small world, a life carved out on the edges of the ocean.

A little web research tells me that the church is rumoured to have been founded by St Matthius the 13th apostle. I also learn that the stone I see upright amongst the ferns is the remnants of a cross.

We stayed on the island for three summers as children and were unaware of this piece of history.

(http://www.earlychristianireland.org/galway/connemara_inishnee_island.shtml).

 

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