mockturle06: (Lewis)

I was interested to read that Patty Jenkins was leaning on John Singer Sargent as one of the main visual influences of the film (again, completely ignoring the photographs of Australian Frank Hurley which the film apes so convincingly – has anyone told them that those photos were composites?).

Well, I don’t mind if she’s referenced Singer Sargent as well. He’s one of my favourite artists (I last saw a work of his in the touring Scottish National Gallery exhibition). 

I do remember that time I tried to find the Singer Sargents at the Met in New York, and was finally directed to the basement, and there they were, on a rack you had to pull out so you could only see half the painting in dim light. Okay, so I’d flown all the way from Sydney, I hadn’t even checked into my hotel yet, I hadn’t eaten or slept in over 24 hours, so I lost it. Completely lost it, demanding to know, out loud, what the fuck they thought they were doing keeping a highly revered American artist in the basement when I’d flown all that way to see him in situ, as it were, instead of paying $40 for the privilege of peeking over a scrum of desperate masses like I do at home.

These days I’d get shot for a meltown like that, but by the end of my rallying cry most folks were nodding and agreeing with me. I like to think it was my small part I played in bring Singer Sargent out of the basement and back on the walls.

Certainly I can’t think of a time, except maybe the mid-20th century, when Singer Sargent wasn’t a big deal here. Patty Jenkins will hate this (in her strident airbrushing out of Oz influences) but there was never a painter more influential, especially maybe Whistler, than Singer Sargent on his contemporary Australian artists.  I’m talking Rupert Bunny, Hugh Ramsay and E Phillips Fox, just off the top of my head, but you could probably count the entire Heidelberg camp, if you wanted to, and not be wrong. I’m totally on board with the Singer Sargent style. Probably because I see so many ‘in the style of’ works on the walls of local galleries. Like I said, a big deal. Here, at least.

Anyways, enough of that. Back to the mean streets of Edinburgh, or rather, the city where I live, and the city where I work. In both locales I was lucky enough to have tickets to a talk by Ian Rankin as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival (some wag pointed out that it’s sometime misprinted as the Sydney Writer’s Festival, as in a writer, who lives in Sydney, who is feeling a bit festive).

So I went to see Mr Rankin, author of my beloved Rebus books, and they are beloved by me now. The tipping point happened when I was retrenched, and by some luck I’d bought a whole pile second-hand from an Amnesty stall at the fete only weeks earlier. So, alone, fucking miserable, terrified by hourly thunderstorms, I sat and worked my way through several Rebus books, and it kept me together, just. So Rebus, somewhat ridiculously, is where I go when I’m flat out miserable. Small surprise I’ve been keeping company with Rebus lately, a lot.

Maybe it reminds me of the Scottish books my grandmother used to send me via brown paper parcel when I was a child. Mythical Edinburgh is my safe place, my childhood space. Even Rebus’ Edinburgh.

The City Recital Hall was the locale for the first talk. It was ok, though crowded and snobby, and the cloakroom guy was a real fascist (after letting me breeze through on Wednesday) – it wasn’t for nothing the cloakroom line was longer than the book-signing line at the end of the evening.

Mr Rankin was very funny, but the ‘host’ kept cutting across him and interrupting anecdotes, which really started to annoy me, but there was nothing to be done. I did get to hear about the Belle and Sebastian story.

Maybe I was just tired, it had been a very long and frustrating day, and I’d had to run across town to get there.

Saturday and Mr Rankin was appearing in my very own hometown, which thrilled me no end as I’d been muttering to myself about having to miss the Rebus-fest in Scotland.

It was supposed to be a perfect day, but these things never are – my favourite restaurant let me down really badly – it was bloody awful. But I did get my usual glass of flat sticky wine at Riverside, and they had political cartoons on display on the walls for my pre-show entertainments and the seats I bought were top notch front and centre.

Of course I’d left my camera behind after the hullabaloo at the recital hall on Friday, never mind that it had been the first night of Vivid as well, so of course we were allowed to take photos this time. This is my life. At least I’d remembered to bring an armful of books to be signed, though, as I lamented on Twitter, I’ll not be able to read them on the bus anymore because they’re all signed now and they’ll get rooned if I try.

This, I felt, was a much better talk. More die-hard fans, better host, better questions. I enjoyed it very much, and it’s fun to hear about the influences and circumstances behind the stories and characters. He even teased there may be a Siobhan Clarke book one day – I hope so, as Shiv is a fave (even though she hates people calling her Shiv).

So, I met Ian Rankin, favourite living author (there’s only a handful now), and got my old battered books signed on my home turf. A moment of squee, there, then.

Obligatory Chris Pine reference: well, I did waste some precious time trawling around Tumblr. He was looking very dashing and being quite funny at the various premieres and promo interviews, more funny and dashing than he’s been in a while. So I was happy. The faux Victorian/Edwardian suit he wore at the LA premiere gave me the vapours, and I liked the pinstripe, too, though I still can’t see a pinstripe suit like that without going to the G Addams place (which isn’t a bad place as far as I’m concerned but probably not what he was shooting for). In any case, I wasn’t short of Pine pics for ogling over.

I was very lazy (or completely burnt out, take your pick) but Sunday did prove to be the premium washing day, if only for when the neighbourhood cat, who usually gives no fucks, decided he did not like the large shirts blowing and flapping and twisting towards him in the wind with their empty sleeves reaching for him. The unhappy kitty pretty much commando crawled all the way to the safety of under the house. I fell about giggling, so I’m in the doghouse again.

Of course, this means the new evil neighbours must be having a go at him when I’m not there (my yard is usually a sanctuary where all the neighbourhood cats and lizards and birds, etc. come to sun themselves - sometimes it looks like a battlefield with sleeping animals strewn across it) like I know they’ve been having a go at my parrots. Harumph. So yeah, sorry, cat.

That poor much put upon cat. I do not know why he keeps trying to be my cat. One, I’m a dog person. Two, I’m allergic. Three, I’m night blind so I keep tripping over him in the dark, and four, that time I accidentally locked him in the laundry and he’s damn lucky I forgot something that day (I’ve since learnt to check for cats that aren’t mine curled up on the washer before shutting the door). Took him several months to forgive me for that one, and I can’t blame him. Didn’t stop him curling up on the patio seat though, I just got the evil eye as I went past.

Anyway, that was the weekend. Not much pop productive wise, but I got my books signed. That made me happy.

My links: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113197665355692280218/posts

mockturle06: (Avengers)

Well, my ovaries have good and proper exploded. It was the full Edwardian drag what done it, which I have a decided thing for, and then, yikes, the floppy blonde hair. I was gone. Gone.

I blame it on far too much Merchant Ivory at a tender age. Yes I do (and as if it wasn’t bad enough, the Guardian decided to get all retrospective over Merchant Ivory and their floppy-haired Edwardian chaps).

But, you know, lawks. If I’m like this now with just the pre-publicity, what am I going to be like when I see the damn film. Well, the complete lack of ANZACs should keep me suitably thin-lipped and dry of eye and dry of seat. So far it looks like the only Australian referenced in the whole damn enterprise is Frank Hurley and his WWI photos.  Like really referenced, like rip-off, like they better hope they’re out of copyright.

But anyway, short story: too much drooling over the Pine and boom, my second period in two weeks, because one wasn’t enough? I thought going crone meant less, not more. I’m gonna be a hollowed out husk at the end of it.

So, aside from the full Edwardian (swoon), there were repeats of Beyond and a brief appearance in Angie Tribeca (père et fils, actually, and my second Pine Snr sighting that week – I really need to get out more).

But that wasn’t my only Chris, oh no. I cheated and saw Guardians of the Galaxy. One of those other Chrises.

Meant to go last week but I had the dreaded lurgy, but I crawled off to see it on the weekend, dosed to the gills on borrowed Codral (I haven’t had it in years, so I’m still coming down). So, maybe it’s the Codral talking, that is, critical faculties not at full strength, but I kinda loved it.

Okay, yes, another decided entry in the sad man-child with massive daddy issues genre (the bit where he played catch with his dad was cringe-inducing) but hey, if films are still being made by a generation with abandonment issues, at least it had something to say about love and friendship and bonds that are stronger than blood (especially as blood kin are always proving perilously duplicitous – see also Lucifer). I do wonder what films from the helicopter parent generation are going to be like. More stifling, less hanging the kids out to dry, I suspect.

I could be crueller, but having been ‘raised’ by biological units with less instincts than reptiles or rocks, or, as Victor Hugo so accurately put it, she was a mother only by accident of biology, I kind of get where they were coming from (alas my surrogate mum met the end I might have wished on others) re the absent and abusive parentals.

But it was funny, the soundtrack rocked, the aesthetics were on point (especially the end credits) and Baby Groot stole the movie (should the flesh and blood actors be worried)?

What I really loved was that the big space battles were not endless, mindless minutes of stuff being mashed, but happening hilariously off-screen, in the background, and/or in between bickering. You know, back to being a means to an end, part of the narrative, not an entire reel of mind-numbing first-person player, for which I care not. That was clever and funny, and, gosh darn it, fresh and funny. More, please.

Finally, a film that was more about characters than explosions. Well done. More like this please.

I’ve also had the good fortune, via an email and a $20 ticket, to see and hear Ian Rankin read from A Clockwork Orange, talk about his early influences, being very funny, and then, then I got my book signed. Squee!

If that wasn’t enough, I managed to go to the talk, get my book, line up, get my book signed, get my big work bag back, walk blocks to bus stop, get on a bus and get home only 40 minutes after Himself who left the city over three hours before me. No, no wormholes or time-travel, it’s just that after 7-8pm the roads finally clear and zoom!

I was actually very thrilled to the point of, my colleagues accused me of, blushing, as I’d intended to see a talk by Mr Rankin in the UK, but that fell through, of course, so to see him out here for the Writers’ Festival, well, wishes do come true (yep, wish for Ian Rankin granted, others, not so much, but the universe knows which would cheer me up most).

It was also a good, if brief night, because I ended up sitting next to this retired lady (never did ask her name, I’m shocking) both in the foyer and in the auditorium (and my seat bought on spec was bloody marvellous) and we were chatting and she asked me what I did and declared it ‘useful’. Ah, some much needed validation at last.

The other talks were interesting (I have whole new uses for ‘oscillating’) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, there I was, drinking French wine, listening to great authors, while Himself was strap-hanging on a dangerously over-crowded bus for hours. Ooops. Needless to say, tea wasn’t that much further on from having a tin of beans lobbed at my head. Ah well, seeing Ian was the only good thing this week.

Badness was waking up to being violently unwell, during a violent thunderstorm, and reading Roger Moore had died. My Saint, my Maverick, my Persuader, my Bond. My hero. I’ve adored Roger Moore since I was a child. I snuck in the theatre to see Moonraker (I never sneak).

I was, quite simply, besotted with the man. And, to my great relief, he seemed so sweet and wickedly funny on Twitter (his quiet on Twitter had me worried, I wasn’t wrong to worry). To my further relief, most media reports have been tributes, relating fan love for the man, his good deeds and cheeky wit, and his fine turn as a knitwear model. Really, I couldn’t ask for anything else. Vale Roger, my beloved TV idol.

I’m so very, constantly on the verge of tears sad, but also still full of my love for that man. Last night they played Live and Let Die on telly. Roger Moore, immortal, forever dashing.

I think I was oddly happy, too, to discover so many I follow on social media were massive Persuaders fans (points awarded). I loved that showed. And I adored Maverick. But my favourite would have to be The Saint. I don’t know why, but that suave crime-fighting (later, in the silly 60s, giant monster ant fighting) international man of mystery really took my breath away.

Depending on what age I was at the time of viewing, it was either about the clothes and the cars, the grittier black and white episodes where he was more anti-hero with a conscience, more of a crook than a playboy with a heart of gold, or it was the wacky full colour mid-sixties episodes where the previous too cool Simon Templar became a cardigan wearing grump complaining about pop music and teenagers. And I still loved him. There’s a Saint episode for every occasion, if you want black and white noir and Soho nightclubs, go early. If you want giant ants roaming the Welsh hillsides or brainwashed teenagers, go late. I loved that show. I loved Roger.

The Persuaders, well that just seems just get camper with every viewing. I don’t know what they were thinking, but the series is thoroughly enjoyable. Seriously, some episodes feel like Roger and Tony have taken some time out from their holiday to stumble in front of a camera, but the results are joyous.

Maverick I came to late, only having seen the show when Fox Classics played it a few years back now, but I was hooked. Some of the greatest episodes ever committed to film are contained within Maverick, in my opinion. Sadly not many of them were Roger’s, but he had a few crackers, and I still want to know what he did to get a fire hose in the face in one episode because he breaks character and it’s so obviously unscripted but delightfully silly.

Bond, well, technically he was my Bond, but my Dad always preferred Connery (even if he was a lowlander), but Live and Let Die and the Man With The Golden Gun, total faves. I never did get that Saint film I wanted, but as far as I was concerned, the Bond films were near enough.

Oh man, it was such a joy to watch him last night. At least he’s not gone, gone. He’s still there, taking up shelves of my bookcases (dvds,  memorabilia). He’s there, on my playlists. Immortal. Beloved.

But it hurt. And he is gone. No more zingers on Twitter – damn, I’ll miss that. It made me love him so much more, as if that were possible.

Ah, why must you make me live in a world without heroes.

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