Sunday, December 29, 2013

Festivus & my big fat end-of-year

According to Seinfeldt, or at least to George's father, what non-christians need is Festivus, the festival for the rest of us, to be celebrated on 23rd December. So having already enjoyed my family gift-giving two days early, my boxing-day walk fell naturally on christmas eve, leaving plenty of time for more walks, socialising with friends & wider family, great live music nights and some good viewing too. This included on DVD Ruby Sparksa rom-com with satisfying streaks of profundity as complicated young novelist Calvin writes his ideal girlfriend into existence. Echoing that familiar syndrome summed up in the Broadway musical I love you, you're perfect, now change! Calvin sets about tweaking his creation only to discover, as so many men do, that his control only causes either disturbing dependency or angry resistance.  Zoe Kazan is captivating in the title role of this movie she scripted herself, Paul Dano seems less comfortable as a nerdy young genius than as a dysfunctional teen in Little Miss Sunshine, also directed by Jonathan Dayton (one of my favourite movies) but it's still all very enjoyable.
Most interesting TV viewing was a documentary: Sex Lies and a Very British Scapegoat despite being narrated by Andrew Lloyd-Webber had some interesting footage from 1963 when the establishment ~ conniving with the press ~ made Stephen Ward fall-guy for John Profumo's affair with Christine Keeler by skewing his contemporary hedonism into a kind of seedy bear-pit into which the philandering War Secretary helplessly fell. Mandy Rice Davis, challenged to defend her youthful insouciance, nailed the era superbly:
"I felt I was part of the vanguard movement to the more liberal future."  Good to see you're still up there with the best in feisty ripostes, Ms Rice "he-would-wouldn't-he?" Davis ~ and if that means nothing, google it without her name... Now THAT's fame.

Which segues neatly to my play in the Media Monsters double bill with Rosie Finnegan at the Alma Tavern Theatre next month (January 28th to February 8th).  Fixing It looks at what happens to an idealistic couple who chose their life values in the 1960s, now that a cynical sensationalist media has begun to search for monsters and portray the relationships of that era as either na├»ve or evil. Maybe we should remember Nietzsche's words:  He who fights monsters should take care lest he thereby become a monster. If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.  If we focus on the terrible world the monster inhabits, does this inevitably become our viewpoint too?

Alma Tavern Theatre is already taking bookings so you can buy tickets online here ~ or if you're reading this you count as a friend, so contact me for seats with a small discount! Smiley face.

 So farewell 2013, the year that pushed fracking and twerking into our faces, verbally speaking, made Dickensian poverty the norm, and bought another nuclear reactor for Somerset even as Fukushima radioactive debris washes Californian shores. Afghanistan while officially 'not perfect' is near enough to stop bombing by the end of next year, and £50million will see our own war centenary a celebration 'like the diamond jubilee.'  Nevertheless, let's welcome 2014 and try to take good care of it.

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