(Well, maybe The Handmaiden.)
It’s a new year and a new bullet journal. A dear friend gifted me a gorgeous limited edition Baron Fig Confidant that I’ve been using that I adore, although I often despair of my handwriting and inability to center text in titles. But I’ve been trying to drop the self-consciousness to focus on actually using it, especially to complete Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map workbook. Much more on that after I finish it (I only have it for another five days or so), but it’s nice to have such an extensive collection to index.
(I’ve also, out of sheer desperation, started using the WordPress mobile app, since I’m so crunched for time these days, so I do hope that will help things along.)
The only two items from last year that I will link here, in memory of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher: Anne Helen Petersen’s “Debbie Reynolds’ Legendary Gossip Game” and Carrie Fisher interviewing Madonna on the heels of the Blonde Ambition tour.
All sci-fi is political, even Star Wars’ pretty straight forward “teamwork good, Nazis bad” agenda. So why is the alt-right trying to claim that it’s apolitical?
Harriet Alida Lye on the “recognition and revulsion” of growing up in suburbia is the first thing I’ve ever read that captures how I feel about my hometown.
Anne Helen Petersen reflects on her idyllic, semi-connected college experience—and then wonders how much of it was idyllic because her very white college campus was able to basically construct its own echo chamber because of that semi-connected state.
I listened to Florence + The Machine’s discography (Between Two Lungs, Ceremonials, and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful) to kick off the new year with a great Pre-Raphaelite howl. I traditionally only graze singles, which is something I want to correct by committing to listen to whole albums. (This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution; or, if it is, it’s one that’s at least two years old.) It’s easier said than done with my shot powers of concentration–I failed to do so with Pulp, despite how much I like “Common People”‘s marriage of synth pop and the working class British Invasion of the nineties–but I managed it for Florence.
Between Two Lungs and Ceremonials are lush and Baroque, with Ceremonials shading darker–there’s nothing as cautiously optimistic as “The Dog Days are Over” on the latter album, just plenty of gorgeous songs to be dragged off into the woods by Eva Green to. “No Light, No Light” is naturally a standout–those drums! That chanting!–but I’m deeply fond of “Seven Devils” for reasons I’m sure aren’t related to the Knights of Ren.
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful recontextualizes Welsh’s immense, near-holy voice away from the dark woods and into the seventies, with a greater focus on more traditional singer-songwriter elements and guitar. But grandiosity, thankfully, remains at play, especially with “Queen of Peace.”
I watched Hellraiser for the first time on Saturday. “But Clare,” you might say, “aren’t you that legendary weenie, the GodQueen of Weenie Hut Jr’s?” This is, of course, true: I regularly shriek at film screenings where I and other patrons have paid good money to see a film, presumably without a grown woman shrieking.
That said, I don’t find Hellraiser‘s Cenobites horrifying, despite their lovingly grotesque character designs. True horror for me is unpredictable violence. The Cenobites, in contrast, only come when summoned and are exploring the outer reaches of sensual experience. It’s Frank and Julia (so sharply and perfectly dressed, I nearly died) who are the actual villains of the film, although the Cenobites have the most inventive gore.
That was followed up by We Are What We Are, a reimagining of a Spanish film. It’s atmospheric Americana cannibalism that left me a little cold. But that may have been because the last film I saw last week was The Man Who Fell to Earth.
I treasure pre-Star Wars sci-fi for its intellectualism and oddity; without Star Wars providing an easy commodification of the formula, it tends towards prickly and just weird. The Man Who Fell to Earth is exactly that, an entire film pulling surreal shapes and languidly teasing at the alien nature of Thomas Jerome Newton. There’s not a terrific amount of logic, but who can resist Bowie at his prime? Or one of them, at least.