TV: House, Lost
I have seen up to 2.15 of both House and Lost. I'm enjoying House a lot more than Lost and am loving the new House/Wilson plot devleopment. In second season, I'm finding I'm enjoying nearly all the characters more, but Wilson in particular has really hit his stride. I just love his little hissy fits so much! And I loved the rat episode. So cute! I'm discovering I like Cameron now that they've defined her character a bit better. And she's very pretty--it took me a while to notice just how pretty she really is. Chase, of course, I love, though I still cringe at some of Jesse Spencer's acting. But Foreman annoys me and I can't say why. Anyway, I can't wait to see more, and arrangements are underway to obtain the final eps of the season.
I was losing interest in Lost--it's a puzzling show. I don't really like anyone in it, aside from Sawyer and Sayid. Echo is also interesting. But it doesn't inspire me with great fannish love for any particular character, and it is insanely illogical, and I'm less and less sure that it’s going to follow through on its promise. Conceptually there are many things I like about Lost, and I still enjoy watching it, but at a different level to other shows. I'll catch the rest of this season week by week on Aussie tv.
TV: 21 Jump Street
As a special treat to
I was expecting to find 21 Jump Street attrocious as an adult, but it's actually quite enjoyable even in the thankfully brief interludes when Johnny's not on screen. I also hadn't expected Johnny's character to be so adorable. I know Johnny hated the show and the role, at least by the third season, but it's practically impossible not to be charmed by him.
Baby-faced Tom Hanson is introduced in the pilot as a new cop who is a liability to his partners because no-one can believe he's old enough to be a policeman ('Get him off me! I feel like a child molester!). This irks Hanson, who has a bit of a temper and inner pain (which we learn of in a painfully badly voice-acted voiceover flashback--thankfully Johnny's shirt was open in that scene, so I didn't have to listen that closely!). His chief suggests that he join the Jump St Chapel squad, a special squad of young-looking officers who can go undercover in high school. (Yeah, don't inspect the plausibility of this too closely!) Hanson finds that they're a bunch of crazy non-conformists and at first he feels seriously out of place, but after managing to solve some cases, he starts to be happier in his new role. So far, Tom Hanson has revealed two things he is passionate about: the injustice of car insurance and bowling. He combines extreme dorkiness with suavity and confidence, and the nature of the role means Johnny's in a different costume nearly every scene. Who's going to complain about that?! Especially when the costumes involve earrings, lemon-coloured cardigans, clunky 80s walkmans, bandannas, make-up or punk haircuts…
The other character I really like is Hoffs, the female officer. She's got a lot of spunk, is gorgeous and compassionate and the actress is really good. I think I remember envying her hair and her denim jacket when I was little… At the moment, the rest of the characters bore me, though Ioki has promise.
The slash would be rife for this show if it aired today. The 80s slang is near-impenetrable to me at times, but it also makes for some eye-widening moments. E.g. characters keep telling each other to 'bone up'. It took me a while to decode that one as a simple expression of support. And my favourite so far: 'Two guys always make out better than one!' (this was especially funny in context--Hanson being asked out by one of the other guys).
I'm so hooked! At its worst, this show has brilliantly daggy charm. Right down to the end credit special messages about drug helplines. As anti-drugs as I am, I still get a kick out of the irony of Johnny Depp doing these terribly mis-aimed ads only a few years before he bought the Viper Club etc. Not only that, but I'm pretty sure the message the show thought they were sending ('stay away from drugs and crime, kiddies!') was not the one that they really sent--Hanson's undercover identities are far more glamorous and memorable than his actual character, especially for teens. And kids are great at sifting what they *want* out of shows and ignoring the rest.
Can't wait for more!
I watched the first few eps before I went away, and I watched the plot arc ending in Retribution the other night. It unsettled me greatly, despite warnings from nehellania. I was in the grumpiest of grumpy moods after the painfully tragic and pointless death of Archie. Jamie brought so much cheery charm to Archie, and I don't think I can bear to watch the final eps. Also I really really want to know why Horatio decided that what he really wanted to do in the middle of a dangerous political situation on the ship was to get naked and get sprayed by water as the rest of the crew (and prominently Archie) watched appreciatively. ??!! Baffling! Seriously, this show only makes sense if you fanwank in the slash--the 'conspiracy' that the captain rants on about is the term he uses for 'sodomy', the captain is tortured by erotic dreams about young Wellard, and he's jealous of all the good boy-on-boy action Archie and Horatio and co. are getting. But I have a terrible feeling that I'm going to have to read the books to work out what the random nudity was really in aid of (my theory that it was to get the crew on side so they would testify on his behalf fell down when the crew were never called on).
Also, Matthews is the unsung hero of the show. He saves the day EVERY SINGLE TIME. So much so, that as long as he was around, I had no fears for our heroes. When they got stranded on the mainland, the suspense increased tenfold, because Matthews was not with them. Who would helpfully point out the danger/solution to said danger just in time?? But then it turned out that distance is no obstacle to Matthews. Yes, boys, it was very romantic to leap off a cliff together, but it would have ended horribly had Matthews not noticed you doing so.
Literature: John Banville rage
I've delayed posting on this until my anger abated. I'll try and tell the story briefly and objectively.
I went to see Alex Miller (Australian novelist) interview John Banville (Irish novelist, winner of last year's Booker). I had read The Sea but didn't know if it was representative of Banville's work. Evidently it is. And I'm not a fan. At all. During his talk (it was an 'interview' in name only), he cited lots of Dead White Male writers who he adored (no women, naturlich), slagged off Ian McEwan and read out two passages from his work about women, both of which were hidously offensive. He also made a lot of sweeping generalisations about writers such as 'all writers must believe they are writing a masterpiece'. His misogyny, obsession with the past and the romanticism of the mundane, the egotism… all of it got to me. I fumed. I was also premenstrual. I resolved to return my copy of The Sea to him. Originally I had intended to get it signed and sell it. But having heard the man speak (he had the nerve to say that noone should write about 9/11 for FIFTY YEARS for frak's sake!), I didn't feel comfortable making any profit from his appalling work. So I queued to return it instead.
Unfortunately I was foiled. One of his lackeys scouted the queue and asked who the dedication should be made out to. I replied that I was not there for a signature. A slight, er, altercation transpired, in which I was honest and polite about my intentions, and she got snitty and said, 'oh that's just lovely of you!' in a saracastic voice and stormed off. She fetched a rather Important Person in the Melbourne lit scene to intervene and head me off. I was two people away! But thwarted, I relinquished my book to him instead, explaining that I was just not comfortable owning it any more.
However, I'm still pissy that I didn't get to talk to Banville personally. I wasn't going to be rude--I was just going to return it so he knew there was one person in the world who didn't idolise him. But apparently when you win a Booker prize, your ego becomes eggshell-thin and needs wrapped in cotton wool. Puh-lease!
Concerts: Low, Annie, Belle & Sebastian
It's been quite a concert-fest here in Melbourne recently. June is one of our peak times for tours, and I've been to three gigs in just over a week. First there was Low, who amused me greatly with their earnest non-rockstar-ness. Then there was pop-princess Annie who was cute but shallow, as one would expect. And finally Belle & Sebastian, playing my favourite venue, The Forum.
The Forum is a gorgeous theatre. It has an art deco façade and inside it's all plush carpets and sweeping staircases. The ceiling of the foyer glows blue like a fake sky, and inside the walls of the theatre are lined with fake Greek statues--all very over the top and glam, but somehow when the lights go down and you look up at the fake starry sky (yes, it's a night sky, inside), it's all rather magical. On top of that, it has a big dance floor beneath the high stage, so there's lots of space for the enthusiastic fans to throng in. And there's rows and rows of plush couches with little tables up the back for the lazier sort.
I have a theory about The Forum: the venue is so awesome it ups the chances of a good concert there by at least 50 per cent. And last night didn't disappoint. I saw B&S at The Palais a year or so ago, and they were ok, but Stuart was a bit manic, and the Palais's such a terrible venue (waaaay too many seats, no good dance floor, crappy acoustics) that they weren't that great. But last night they were delightful. There was lots of crowd interaction, the band played for a good two hours in fine form, Stuart made jokes about Melbourne ('summer in winter, winter in springtime' being a very appropriate lyric for us) and they played lots of old stuff as well as tracks from their new album. I'm proud to say the Melbourne audience came through with their ability to whistle the melody of older tracks when called upon to do so. There were lots of grins from the band members when sections of the audience (including me) squealed with delight at the opening bars to older tracks.
The highlight was Stuart's little performance at the start of the encore. During the concert, he'd occasionally wandered off to the corner of the stage to perv at the Greek statues (you get a pretty graphic view of the genetalia from below). And as he came back on stage, he headed over and started scaling the balcony. He had to hang by his hands and pull himself up, which was pretty funny to watch. The balcony is huge--it's done up like a Greek garden with a mock temple and full size statues and trees. Stuart scrambled around it and climbed up on one of the statue plinths to pose with the Greek god. It was attention-seeking behaviour of the best sort. The crowd went wild chanting 'Jump! Jump!', and hilariously the band broke out into Jump! by Van Halen. Stuart eventually scrambled down to enjoy them (he sang the whole thing through!), but not before groping the statue and ending up dangling from the speakers on his precarious way down.
And some music to share
I've loved Belle & Sebastian for years and years. So in honour of this exciting event I share with you a couple of their earlier, less well-known but greatly loved by me tracks. I'd have had more but Yousendit was all weird with me.
Dog on wheels
Connection, obsession, whimsy
Get me away from here I'm dying
Naïve boys, storybooks and happy endings