Monday, December 30, 2002

The LRB would be worth reading for the Personals alone. Some current favourites:

What a brilliant young man I was, and how quickly and wilfully I burned myself out. That’s not the truth by any means, but this ad has got worse with every draft. Quick, girls, save boring thirties Manchester actuary (M) from Cooking for One, an overactive imagination and a malevolent wordprocessor. Box no. 2406

Mah-jongg shark of illegal Welsh gambling dens (M, my age is my business), here to reclaim his place as king of the Bloomsbury gamers. Strategic cunning, poker face, and all the aces with box no. 24/15. (Respondents should have quick access to a full bank account, a face unrecognisable in Bicester, and be willing to take short notice, long-haul flights.) Box no. 2415

But it's a thin line between inspired whimsy and trying to hard. Clue: avoid referring to anything as "the new rock and roll" or thinking that high-culture-meets-pop-culture schtick is funny in its own right:

Personal ads are the new rock and roll. If you’re an egghead. M psychoteddy, forties, seeks tonic chord honey who knows what the real thing is: setting the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins to thrash guitar. Lincoln. Box no. 2407

It's true, I'm a harsh critic, but I have standards to maintain if I ever want this blog to be what I envisage: a place where everyone from Jacques Derrida to Holly Valance comes to consult the zeitgeist. Blogging is, after all, the new rock and roll.

I'll be watching fireworks over Sydney Harbour at (exactly) this time tomorrow, so with that it's Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Now with extra vowels

Finished Ian Rankin's The Black Book. I thought it was one of his weaker efforts, but that might be because I read it in fits and starts and lost control of the plot somewhat. It contained a character called Aengus, which I take it is the authentic Gaelic spelling of my name...strangely, I've never come across it before. Aengus Gordon: it has a kind of a ring to it, n'est-ce pas? The novel also contained what I suspect is literature's only example of an alcoholic gay chef who runs an Elvis-themed restaurant...correct me if you can think of any others.

In other news...bought a suit from Calibre, whose website is now showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2000 collection. Typical! Still, nice clothes. I'll be wearing the suit to the très glam gala (featuring my sister) that I'll be going to in Sydney on NYE. I love wearing suits in a way that probably only someone who doesn't have to wear them can.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Poor Philip

Oh dear...Philip Pullman has written an article for The Guardian in which I'm afraid he comes off as a bit of a tosser:

In my own case, for reasons too deeply buried to be dug up, I have long felt that realism is a higher mode than fantasy; but when I try to write realistically, I move in boots of lead. However, as soon as the idea comes to me, for example, of little people with poison spurs who ride on dragonflies, the lead boots fall away, and I feel wings at my heels. For many reasons (which, as I say, are beyond the reach of disinterment) I may regret this tendency of my imagination, but I can't deny it.

Hobbit-free movies

Last night I watched Shanghai Noon, one of the DVDs that came free with my player. Lots of fun. Fewer action scenes and more storytelling than I expect from a Jackie Chan movie, though. I can be very thick sometimes...it took me ages to realise that the title was a pun. Duh! Unlikely as it may seem, Owen Wilson basically played the same role in this as he played in The Royal Tenenbaums.

Then today I went to see François Ozon's 8 femmes. Really enjoyed this--pure artifice, but with real heart and amazing performances. I thought the pick of them was Fanny Ardant (great name!). I kept trying to remember where I'd seen her before; it turns out that, apart from lots of no doubt wonderful roles I haven't seen, she was Mary of Guise in Elizabeth...not a big role, but it obviously made an impression. Anyway, two of the things that make this film interesting to me are: (1) it's part of what seems to be a renaissance of the screen musical, which can only be a good thing; and (2) [subtle spoiler ahead] it's a bit like a George Cukor ensemble piece where the subtext becomes text, making it kind of the female equivalent of Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven, from what I've heard of the latter (which we don't get until mid-Feburary, although if it wasn't for family Christmas stuff, damn it, I could have gone to a preview last Saturday!).

Friday, December 27, 2002

Apiculture For Bonnets, Part Two

...Here are some I prepared earlier (and forgot to post):

Contemporary "literary" fiction All rubbish, unless I explicitly say otherwise.

Crime fiction On the whole, I unfashionably prefer British crime writers to American ones. But it's more important to be right than fashionable, isn't it?

Academia The example of one or two people I know encourages me to believe that it's possible, although not easy, to be an academic while retaining your sanity. So I am going to try.

Angus's Blog Lauched; World Peace Declared (The Difficult First Entry)

This blog is a place for the private obsessions, manias and hobbyhorses that I'm too well-mannered to inflict on people in more public forums. As such, its audience is likely to be limited. In fact, you may well be it. And if you're still reading by the end of this post, you may well be my soulmate; please e-mail me, especially if you're impossibly beautiful and male.

In any case, my record with journals and diaries is decidedly erratic (of course, that was before I had an audience!), so what I've decided to do for this first entry is to sum up my views on as many pet topics as possible in one or two pithy sentences each. This way, not only will you never have to read this blog again, but all being well, I'll never have to write it again either. And where better to begin than...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer The best TV show ever. If you don't agree, I'm afraid we may not get along.

Neighbours The most left-wing show on Australian commercial television. Consistently underrated in every respect by the telerati.

Other TV shows I watch Angel (of course), 24, Malcolm in the Middle, South Park, The Sopranos, Queer as Folk, The Bill, MDA(shut up! it's a good show!), The Panel, Talking Footy, The Movie Show, Smallville, Gilmore Girls (a non-exhaustive list).

Movies Strictly a dilettante. That Alfred Hitchcock, I like him.

Nineteenth-century fiction ...is the best. Especially French.

Proust I'm the only person who really understands him! Also, note to poseurs: don't use the phrase "Proustian moment" unless you've read the book!

Classical music I especially like anything from late romanticism to early modernism: Wagner, Mahler, Debussy, Schoenberg, Berg, Stravinsky, Bartok, Janacek, R. Strauss. I'm not really interested in anything before Beethoven.

Dance music Turnons: house, deep house, tech-house, techno; anything 4/4, loopy, minimal, funky, dirty, moody, twisted and/or (actually) soulful. Turnoffs: supersaturation a la prog/trance; cheesiness a la formulaic disco-house; cafe-friendliness a la nu-jazz/lounge/chillout.

Football My heart beats true. Enough said.

Australian politics Don't give up on the ALP!

Fashion When you turn 30, start dressing younger.

Coffee Should be of excellent quality, but taken for granted rather than lovingly dwelt on.

Food Can be bloody good, but is not under any circumstances "better than sex."

Buffistas The warmest, smartest, funniest group of people you could hope to meet. Also, frequently exasperating.

UK TTers Another top-shelf online community. A touch more acid than the Buffistas, and much easier to keep up with.

I think that will do us for the moment, don't you? If you're still reading, I'm amazed, impressed, and a bit scared. See you next time.

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