Sunday, September 01, 2002

I'll run away till I'm bigger,
but then I'll fight.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Ow ow ow! Time was, not so long ago, that I could spend the whole of Saturday shopping, before going out for a meal, and then heading off to Love Muscle at the Fridge, before going on to Trade and staying till one o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, and then going off to someone's place for a chill-out, and then getting a cab home, and spending six hours working in front of a computer screen, and then having a wonderful night's sleep, before waking up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for another exciting and challenging day at work.

As I said, that was then.

This, unfortunately, is now.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

I posted my name up on the Friends Reunited website a while back now. It was more out of curiosity than an urgent need to reconnect with old school- and university-friends. If we really wanted to see each other again, contact wouldn't have been lost in the first place, would it?

Until today I reckon I've been right. The only e-mails have been from people I really did not like or respect, and, in one case, couldn't even remember. Now someone with whom I actually got on rather well at Uni has posted me.

She's married, one kid, living on another continent. And me… well, the Little Tinker of my youth has long since gone. After twenty years, what does a mother of a teenage girl and a party-going, should-know-better Metro-Queer have in common?

I'll reply, if only for politeness' sake. But I doubt we'll meet up or exchange phone numbers.

Attractive as it may be, the Past is Another Country.

It should stay that way.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Size really is everything, if Peter Jackson's production of The Fellowship of the Ring is anything to go by. It's a film to be enjoyed on the cinema screen, the bigger the better, not on the TV where I saw the VHS for the first time last night.

For the star of the show is Middle Earth itself, a sprawling land of soaring snow-capped mountains, treacherous swamplands, raging cataracts, and gently rolling hillsides of the Shire, the latter as English as a clotted cream tea. Which is all pretty impressive as the entire film was shot in New Zealand, and the tourist board are milking it for all its worth.

As someone who knows the plot back-to-front, how did I rate it? Well, it stays close to the original apart from a couple of necessary cuts (No Tom Bombadil! Yippee! No Barrow-Wight! Boo-hoo!), and the premature arrival on the scene of Arwen, here to provide the necessary thirty-second, blink-and-you'll-miss-it Love Interest.

Yet even with all the cuts, Jackson rushes to pack too much into his three hours, too many battles, too much exposition, too many fantastic special effects, leaving too little time for us to get to know or care about the characters. Only Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee as rival wizards Gandalf and Saruman, and Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins, manage to convince: and only Frodo and Sam succeed in charming the viewer into actually liking them.

Aragorn is a self-important ass, Gimli a smutty joke, Legolas a limp-wristed prissy old queen in the making. At least Sean Bean as Boromir does the decent thing and gets killed in the end. And you really don't want to know what I think of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. (Believe me, you really don't.)

But then I've always been one for character-driven pieces rather than action movies, a fan of Rimbaud rather than Rambo.

Yet I've got to say that I did enjoy it, much more than I thought I would. So seven out of ten. I'll definitely be seeing The Two Towers. On the Big Screen, of course. That's the natural place for Spectacle, which is how the trilogy is being treated on film. And now that the scene has been set, and all the back-story told, maybe we'll get to know the other characters a little more in the second movie.

And who did I fancy in the end? Well, the Balrog did have its moments, but in the end it has to be Elijah Wood as Frodo. With those puppy-dog eyes, mischievous grin, hair that was expressly made for running your fingers through, and a suggestion that he still hasn't started shaving, cradle-snatching has never seemed more fun.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

The Fellowship of the Ring is released today on VHS in the UK. Peter Jackson's film of the best book of all time? Over-rated hype? Rattling good yarn? A piece of plagiaristic, misogynist, reactionary twaddle?

You know something? I don't care what anyone else thinks.

All I care about is that since my teens The Lord of the Rings has been my constant companion, a trilogy reread every couple of years or so. I love Tolkien's shameless nicking of elements from practically every world mythology you can think of. I revel in the cuteness of the first few chapters, when he still wasn't quite sure whether he was writing another kids' story or not (Bilbo Baggins and his eleventy-first birthday indeed!). And I delight in the darkness of the final book, all blood, death and treachery.

I can even live with his characters, as reassuringly stereotypical and as predictable as any character from a Middle English epic. And especially I love this philology professor's utterly convincing invented languages, which instilled in me a never-ending passion for linguistics and the meaning of words.

Yet I haven't seen the movie.

(I never get around to seeing movies. Especially if they require venturing into that first circle of hell that is commonly known as Leicester Square.)

And I was scared that watching The Fellowship of the Ring would destroy my own imagined vision of Tolkien's world.

But today I bought the video, to catch up with what everyone else saw eight months or so ago. And I'm settling back now, phone off the hook, glass of Merlot in the hand. Anticipation building up as the VCR clunks into life.

Will McKellen's Gandalf convey the hidden power and grandeur of Mithrandir? Will the Hobbits be insufferably cute, and what about that dodgy relationship between Frodo and Sam? Will New Zealand make a convincing Middle Earth? Who will I fancy the most – Aragorn, Legolas or (Shame of Shames) the Ring-Wraiths?

And just how are they going to play the Balrog?

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

For Everyone-Who-Understands, a frighteningly truthful and extremely uncomfortable insight into my psyche.

I'm David!

I'm David, who are you? Six Feet Under Quiz by Turi.

And for Those-Who-Don't-Understand, in the UK anyway, you need to be in front of the TeeVee, Channel Four, 22h30 on a Monday.

Believe me, you will not regret it.
So what happened?

No raging or blowing cataracts and hurricanoes. No sulph'rous and thought-executing fires or oak-cleaving thunderbolts.

Just a few heavy showers. That's all.

I feel cheated somehow.


Tuesday, July 30, 2002


London, with its narrow congested streets, traffic exhaust, over-packed cattle trucks tube trains, and pale-faced natives, is not made for summer.

And now, after three of the hottest and most uncomfortable days in the Big Smoke I can ever remember, it has started to rain!

Rain! Rain! Rain! Wonderful, glorious rain!

We're promised thunderstorms later.

Masses of 'em.

I can't wait!