Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Conclusion:

For some years I've been wrestling with this question, since the lovely Helen (ever so lamented in her absence) recommended The Mighty Boosh to me*, but I have decided.

Vince Noir is fucking hot, right down to the (admittedly) incredible hair. Noel Fielding, on the other hand, who has more than once been sighted in the company of Amy W(h)inehouse, is not.

A contributing factor that is by no means exclusive to him is the hipster belt that wraps oh-so-clingingly-and-oh-so-inviting-of-the-rimming 'round the lower part of his arse. Frankly, it does wonders for anyone height/weight proportional, but he can work that shit, down.

The whole post-modern-awareness bit is almost but not quite gilding the lilly.

And I'm happy with this sort of dichotomy, as the exact opposite (actor v. character) holds true for David Tennant, and comes damn close to working for Chris Eccleston.

*The reruns of The IT Crowd on IFC have helped in this as well, as well as complicating my idea of just how cute Richard Ayoude is after Garth Marenghi's various incarnations (but that can be tied back to the Emotionally Feckless Fucker...). Turns out he's straight, but still... cute is as cute does.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I don't like Christmas.

It's not that I hate it, as such -- though I occasionally I am driven to that -- I just don't care for it. And this pisses people off. More often that not, it's like an affront to their very existence. Every year, I have to listen to someone go on and on about how special and wonderful it is for them. And this is fine. I just wish they'd go be special on their own and leave me the fuck alone.

It was best when I lived in Durham. I somehow got in the tradition of driving my friend IGP to the airport to catch a red-eye flight on Christmas Eve. We'd spend the night before drinking and watching bad movies, often in the company of another friend I'll call Roweena (spot the Romantic-era joke there, folks!). That would descend into inebriated debates over local scenesters' sexual proclivites over The Sound of Music.

I still don't know about Neil and that was always a hot topic. As it were.

The next day I'd head over to the radio station with Roweena and refuse to play Christmas music for a huge shift. It was prinicipal: I was atheist and R. was Jewish. And we both felt like the world needed far more girly pop played in Decemeber.

I'm not sure exactly why I dislike Christmas. (Other than, you know, the atheism...) The only really nasty Christmas run-in I've ever had was when the person I lived with felt obligated to put up a string of lights and was stupid enough to do it on the stair railing. A few mornings later, dashing to work at 5 am, my foot got caught in it and I fell down the stairs.

That was no fun.

I think it mostly comes from indentured labor in my youth. For a period of ten years or so (inclining towards 15), I was forced to be in my parents' church's Christmas play. This meant the wasting of four or five perfectly good Sunday afternoons in Advent* watching a bunch of awkward, poorly-educated children mumble the same tired sing-song Bible verses.

For years, I didn't even have to learn the words since I had the same verse**: "Unto Us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Unlimited Rice Pudding*** etc., etc.

When I finally was old enough to complain about this -- my father was the Sunday School Superintendant and I was therefore an example -- I got cast as a rock. A rock.

This is separate from the obligatory family Christmas tree decoration. The least said about that the better; suffice it say I was once beaten and told "You will come hear and you will have a good time. Or else."

So I have no love of the Yule. The only thing I /do/ like is music. But only a certain kind. My parents are old; they almost were when I was born, and their taste in music betrays that. Growing up, the Christmas music they played was from the eeaaarrllly 1960s: The Living Strings. Andy Williams. Laurence Welk. Johnny Mathis.

To this day, it ain't Christmas till somebody breaks out The Andy Williams Christmas album and plays "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells"****. And my favourite single Christmas collection is the one album of their multi-disc Laurence Wellk Christmas Set they disliked enough to let me ruin. I still have it.

Naturally enough, when I'd been gone a few years, I got a hold of some Esquivel and it suits me perfectly.

So... after bitching about the holidays for a while, I am now going to deliver some goods. Good, free Christmas music:

The Real Deal:

The good folks over at Ultra Swank still have available their Retro Christmas album. For Free!

Over at Pyschotic Leisure Music present you with a whole album of Senor Esquivel. Also For Free!

And last but not least -- and also gatis -- our benefactors over at Romantic Air Records have their Christmas album up, and it's a modern take on the same sort of sounds. It's keen!

So take that Christmas cheer and stick it, yo.

*Yes, I know perfectly well there are only four Sundays in Advent. I just don't care.

**Lutherans love memorising things almost as much as they do not changing things.

***Obligatory Doctor Who reference. See how I sneaked that in effortlessly with Isaiah, Chapter Nine? See, I /told/ you Lutherans were into memorising.

****For years, the whole album was unavailable on iTunes. Now it is. Merry Christmas to me, iTunes.

This Isn't a Common Lament of Mine...

... if anything, I tend to think the exact opposite of this, yet oddly, today was the second time in as many weeks it's run across my mind: it's always very sad when the very pretty aren't very bright.

I am -- properly or not -- deliberately conflating bad taste and militant inexperience with "not-very-bright"-itude.

One of tonight's Jeopardy! contestants* (not the champion, obv.), Daniel, was very pretty and handled himself reasonably well. Through the wonders of Facebook**, a man might be privy to his likes and dislikes and such, and they are disappointing to say least. You really should have a decent book as a favourite before you go on Jeopardy!(.)


The other instance, which I'm not sure I ought to mention, happened when I was in Durham recently, when someone quite fetching said something more or less deeply stupid.

*Yes, another Jeopardy! contestant. Shut up.

**Oh, do the hard work yourself.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

They've revived those ads for Britney Spears' perfume -- "Fantasy: Everyone's Got One". I suppose my fantasy would be finding out just who would want to smell like /her/.

(Or more to the point, who would pay $40 to do so when all you really need to do is wake up on a stranger's floor after pack of smokes, a pint of Jack Daniels and a broken condom...)

But this defies me even more. If it's a gag, then it doesn't work; if it's real, it's far more terrifying than smelling like Britney. *

It sort of backs of my theory that American culture is Teh Fails.

*Although really, the Obesity epidemic being what it is, this oughtn't to be as shocking as it is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happiness Is...

Hearing one of your favourite bands on one of your favourite TV shows, like when I heard "Keep it Clean" by Camera Obscura on Skins last night. (Or, indeed, when they were on Gilmore Girls.)

Sadness is when you realise they were saying something mean about that song and the kinds of people who listen to it.

Bad Skins writers. Unfortunately, short of bitching about it here, my only other form of protest is not to watch the show any more, and *that* is unlikely. So I'll just sit here and stew.

In Which We Learn That The Recitations Of An Asthmatic Hamster May Be More Salubrious Than The Entire Corpus of William Faulkner

I am very susceptible to suggestion. Virtually anyone who knows me will agree to that. Part of it is just natural... gullibility, I guess. But part of it is training.

Any sort of criticism is essentially a response to the stimulation a work of art gives; formal criticism is just putting that gut reaction into a more informed context.

And while this is true for all art, I think it is even more so for the drama. Most modern acting in the US is more or less based on Stanislavski's System, and all that boils down to is a schemata for making yourself extremely open to the imaginative suggestion of an author's script.

Dramaturgy and directing are even more so, in that dramaturgy is preparation for the more literary, theoretical suggestions underpinning a script, and direction is dealing with the the concrete realities of working actors and their inter-relating physical and mental positioning.

So where is this going?

I finished reading Faulkner's Go Down, Moses not long ago, and it's made me want to go hunting.

This is, of course, ludicrous.

I have none of the necessary skills, nor (really) any of the necessary desires. I mean, sure, I hate deer. I /really/ hate deer, and it must be loads of fun to take one down, but the whole sitting half-way up a tree at 4.30 in the morning of the off chance one might stroll by is pretty much the opposite of how I'd like to spend my time.

And the idea of giving me a firearm ought to appal everyone. I mean, technically speaking, I can fire them -- and have been licensed to do so in front of people in state-run institutions, even -- but my knowledge runs out for anything produced after 1580 or so.

Had I spent more time learning to shoot in Boy Scout camp instead of learning to kiss from the instructor, this might not have been an issue. (And no, for the record, it was not some gross Scoutmaster. It was some over-eager older scout.) In an amusing twist of fate, the state of South Carolina got rid of sales tax on guns the weekend after Thanksgiving. And my brother was going to be there. I asked him to pick one up, but he (wisely) laughingly refused. He was in the army and knows the danger of me packing heat.

But for a few weeks yet, I'll still think the whole hunting thing is something I ought to try. I even learned all about seasons for various game, and the licenses required and bag limits and so forth. One might even hunt bears in the vicinity of where my parents live, which I find equally fascinating and appalling. I didn't know there were bears left there to hunt, but next time I'm there, I'll be more aware of the dark.

Perhaps fortuitiuosly for everyone involved, I've started reading a collection of the works of Washington Irving, an author with whom I have no familiarity. (Other than he used to hang out with Walter Scott and that Mary Shelley carried a torch for him...) I quite like it so far, if for no other reason to find out what Isobel Campbell was going on about in "I Could Be Dreaming".