The other day there was a lot about Kurt Cobain’s non-birthday. It was more about me feeling old and tired, than any distress amongst his surviving nearest and dearest.
And at least the man had the dark good fortune to leave his legacy intact. Age shall not weary him, enfeeble him or cause him to make embarrassing tweets or indulge in humiliating comebacks, reality shows, reunion tours or misguided acoustic solo albums of spoken-word poetry. None of that. Just the pure vision of a doomed Romance-age poet. Beautiful.
Yes, I’m being dreadful, but which has more value? Unblemished art or, say, the sad, staggering degeneration of a David Cassidy? (Who was never in same league, but for comparison). I mean, which would you rather, blowing your own face off or appearing in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. There are indeed, it seems, many fates far worse than death.
And if you think I don’t know real pain, hey, my Dad killed himself and the worst and most difficult project I’m working on right now is pretty much the digital equivalent of what happened to all his actual papers: burying them in landfill. So no comments about taking dead dads lightly. No, it’s my own pain that makes me such a bitch about it.
So yeah, getting old sucks, and at least when you’re dead you don’t know what happens to the shit you leave behind.
Oh yes, cheery mood. I thought going to the school reunion would throw some light on the skittering cockroaches of my mind, but instead it’s sent me spiralling down the rabbit hole of existential bleakness.
But first, Trainspotting 2. Oh yeah, it’s all about getting old and still being as much a loser as you ever were. If there’s a theme this year, it’s constantly being reminded that all my dreams will never happen now. Like that Marianne Faithfull song, I know now that I’ll never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in my hair, etc., etc.
Which is pretty much T2 in a nutshell. One could blame poverty and society (or lack thereof), being perpetual outsiders, but, pretty much, they’re a bunch of nothing losers making the same mistakes they always make and everything changes and nothing changes and nobody ever wins. Or something like that.
But damn, it was funny, and stylish, if gritty Scottish squalor could ever be called stylish (and funny how they’re knocking all those slum towers down when they’re just starting to throw them up where I live, developers, eh?). And if Ewan was worried he couldn’t ‘be’ Renton again, let me reassure him, he was Renton again, completely and utterly. It was brilliant.
And as for Robert Carlyle as Begbie – hee (I was hoping to have some distance between watching the delirious return of that mad bastard Begbie and Once Upon A Time, but no, EvilChannelSeven decided to whack on several episodes I hadn’t seen all at once on Sunday and I only caught them because I was hungover and looking for no more energetic activity that lying glassy-eyed in front of the goggle box).
So I liked that, I really did. And I saw it for free, because I won tickets, so that was a small spark of light in my otherwise bleak and run-down existence.
So I thought it was cute to watch a film about old friends who were really anything but, sadly trying to re-run/reboot/relive their youth and failing most terribly, and then go off to the school reunion. Uh huh. I just sat in the corner while everyone caught up on their many husbands (quite the partner exchange going on there, I should write a HBO show) and kids and dogs. But hey, at least a lot of them have quite interesting careers, which is something considering we were never expected to amount to much (working class government school, see comments re grit and squalor, above). But hey, to those princesses I have to work with, if you think I’m too loud and a bit rough around the edges, meet my classmates. I’m the quiet one, dammit.
At the time I didn’t think it was too bad, and one dear chum I’d known since kindy introduced me to expresso martinis - and I still don’t know whether to thank her or smack her because I think I’m still suffering the hangover. Oy.
It was just afterwards, I was all rippled like a pool into which many stones had been chucked, and one of the former bullies I’d hoped to face and put behind me pursued me on Facebook all Sunday until I deleted the app. Again.
She was all ‘you didn’t talk to me, didn’t you remember me?’
What I thought was, to paraphrase Willow from BTVS, she made my life a living hell for four years and I hated her with a fiery passion. What I actually mumbled in reply was the usual lie about old age shredding my memory (less of a lie these days but it’s more serious head injury than age).
Come Monday and I’m being picked on from all quarters, and I’ve just about had enough. Stayed home on Tuesday to deal with a whole pile of issues that had been dumped on me, but it was mainly so I could curl up and cry. I didn’t, but I wanted to.
At least there was Chris Pine on the telly this week. My drug of choice (and less painful than an expresso martini, though it did, at the time, make watching Star Trek, yes, again, almost as transportive as watching it high on hospital grade anaesthetic, which sums up my 2016, pretty much). The dear boy. Chris, if you’re ever looking for a reason to get up and go to work on a wet Wednesday, keeping me out of the knife drawer should do in a pinch. My little slice of California sunshine.
Though last night I wallowed in Penny Dreadful repeats, because sad and gothic and doomed and oh, I’m probably going to start reading those thick Victorian novels again. And bad me, watching that second to last scene at the graveside all wrong. No, I must not, never mind that Timothy Dalton was being his most Bryonic since playing Heathcliffe or Rochester, both of which I saw as a schoolgirl in pigtails, so you can’t imagine how much it moved me, or set the standard. And Josh Harnett, whom I loathed as the most typical of cheesy Yank actors, was giving it his very best Bryonic, too, and almost nailing it, and so, love.
Then of course Rory walked in and stole the show, but that’s what he does (and why I always think the ‘film’ he was in was way better than Spectre, because the B Team/Scooby Gang looked like they were in a way more interesting film that was happening off-screen, let’s be honest here).
But no, must not, no new fandoms, must not dump current fic the way I dumped my MUNCLE one like a red hot stone (but it was basically such an, er, um, homage, and why, I’ll never know, to This Means War that the subsequent Chris Pine flail that caught me entirely off guard really should have been no surprise at all as it seems my subconscious was leaning that way long before my eyeballs caught up, and it was more the, er, um, optional ending on the DVD anyway, plot-what-plot-wise. Ahem, and I’d love to ask Chris if he was playing it that way through the rest of the flick, because, well, gosh).
Pity, because I did have fun scribbling most of the first MUNCLE one, which also owed a lot to The Champions and The Thunderbirds, damn my magpie brain. The second wallowed in Le Carre inspired ennui until I happily gave it up for a new/old toy.
Besides, I like my current fic, even if there are more daddy issues than Hamlet and Oedipus combined. Poor wee abandoned pup (read a great article on daddy issues in Hollywood).
There’s an awful lot of T2 riffs there, too, which my subconscious did pick up on a good 48 hours before the rest of me did, before I’d even seen the damn film (sometimes I think subby should drive the car, it seems to know the truth way before I do, but then it has, as they said in that episode of Doctor Who, all it needs to see clearly, it is both clever and unloved).
Mind you, I have thrown in a lot of Frankenstein, Dracula and Heart of Darkness riffs, that I can see myself stumbling towards Penny Dreadful, even now (my always abandoned fics are always like this, morphing into the next obsession before I’ve even got there).
Which isn’t to say I abandon the fics because I lose interest. No. Yesterday I wanted desperately to write, but was at the beck and call of others from 4am to 11pm, so no, no writing. Sunday, I did try, but ended up with, no, not the dull ache of a hangover, that I can cope with, just, but the red hot needles of my old concussion headache, and I’ll never know why an hour or so of scribbling in a notebook sends me wild with pain, but it does. It’s not helping or making me happy, I can tell you that.
I have over 300 pages of plotiness sloshing about in my battered old noggin, and I’ll never get it all down, especially the dialogue which goes from 40s film snappy in my head, which is ideal, to 90s tv soupy, which is bad, when I finally, finally get a chance to touch pen to paper, which is very, very rare. (What I need is a non-judgemental secretary who will work all hours for free – yeah, right).
So I get upset and frustrated, especially as my muse is really funny, and he needs to keep that snap that he has in my head while I’m travelling home, all bitter and twisted, on the bus (no, I can’t write on the bus, I’m usually strap-hanging and the roads so bad and the drivers so crazy if I do have a seat I’m hanging on with white knuckles because I usually don’t get a seat until near the end of the line, and it’s a race to go off shift for Mr Bus Driver, passengers, traffic and the laws of physics be damned).
So the one last hobby I’ve tried to keep, all others sacrificed to the great god of duty and doing endless shit for other people, all the time, is barely registering a pulse these days.
My next book to read will probably be re-reading the Princess Bride (though it’s been so long it’ll be as new), if I ever finish the dreary Hornblower, if for no other reason than certain characters in my never-to-be-finished fic riffing on ‘as you wish’, which is cute. Derivative, but cute. No, I can’t change it, they do what they like and I’m not allowed to interfere at all or they’ll slam the door on me and I’ll be banned from my own little imaginary world. Yes, even the imaginary characters in my head make me their bitch, such is my miserable existence.
But enough about that. Watching tv while lonely and sad (and sometimes tipsy) always leads down to the path of ruination, wasted lives and truly awful fic.
One outlier to this saga of death and decay was also seeing Hidden Figures. It’s being sold as a chick flick here, which is odd, as it’s all about maths and spaceships, usually such a male prerogative, but I suppose that’s the point. A chick flick about maths, whoda thunk it. Why, they even had a few conversations that didn’t revolve around men – gasp.
So it wasn’t quite as mawkish as I’d feared for an American can-do film, and it was such an Obama-era film that I wanted to cry, but it was pretty damn formulaic in structure, but for a film about maths chicks, I’ll take it. And it would have been a touch more suspenseful if I’d not been familiar with the mission, but I’ll allow that too (it was a bit like watching Macbeth and thinking maybe this time it won’t play out the same way). So it was pretty much by the numbers (heh) but performed with such verve, I couldn’t help but like it.
The one thing that really struck home was the long dashes to the loo. I once worked in a Victorian building that had fancy loos for the chaps, but the ladies had to use a near heritage-aged demountable set up in the loading dock/courtyard, because women neither worked nor peed when that building went up. So I’m used to lengthy dunny runs in all weathers. And this was in 2007.
So that rang true. Alas, no forward thinking Costner-like manager came around and co-opted one of the gentlemen’s lavatories for us girl-types, so it was always coming back soaked if one had dashed off sans brolly. The life of a working girl in a man’s world, eh? (Don’t even talk to me about potty parity).
And I do feel for their challenges. I’ve been called a monkey with a university degree, to my face, just for being poor and the undeserving recipient of an over-generous state education.
I do wish I didn’t look like my maternal grandmothers (especially now), and much more like my Viking paternal ancestors, so I could properly look the part when I’ve a mind to rip someone’s head off, because they’re well past deserving it. All my cousins are proper little Vikings, all blond and ginger terrors.
I do wish I didn’t look like I do. I wish my Dad had bought the house in Bondi, so no one would ever sneer at my postcode origins. I wish I was normal and could talk to people.
I don’t particularly wish I had my school chums lives. It seems all about partner-swapping, sex, pay checks and vet bills. I know I live too much in my own head for that (mainly because I was trained to do so from a lifetime of bullying).
And I know, despite being cut of plain cloth, I set my standards way too high (yet quite rightly decided I’d rather die a spinster than live with a gamer, but you all know what they’re like now, right?) and I know I want the moon and the stars, and a dream man not afraid of red velvet dinner jackets – heh.
Ah well, and I really should tell Katy Manning this, Green Death was, and remains, a favourite story of mine from childhood, and, in a way, I am still fighting that fight for the environment. It’s pretty much the only reason I stay put with the long hours and lousy pay. The good fight. There is a purpose (even if the politics and pettiness are maddening).
I just wish I had time for a wee bit of fic. But come 11 pm and I’m too knackered. And yes, watching telly on Sunday arvo was a waste of time, but that was only after the headache from hell and being hounded by an old nightmare on social media. Maybe I should stop fussing about the right time, and write at the wrong time. Maybe I should get a better cheap PC and try out some speech recognition software. I could mutter to myself like Auntie Rotter, wouldn’t that be…just too weird.
So that’s my so-called life at the moment: no riding through Paris, in a sports car, with the warm wind in my hair. These days I’m lucky if I can just manage to catch a ramshackle old bus.
Stuff I found on the interwebs: https://plus.google.com/u/0/