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w/e 2020-01-19

Hello. Sorry I’m late, I fell over on the way here.

§   I can’t remember where I came across Richard Dawson recently, not even if it was human or algorithm, which is a shame because I like to give credit to either. We can’t be too careful and should be polite to the algos just in case. Don’t want to get in their bad books so early.

Anyway this week I’ve been listening a lot to Richard Dawson’s recent album 2020, which is very good indeed. Reminds me a bit of what little I’ve heard of Robert Wyatt.

Richard Dawson – Jogging on YouTube (It’s worth getting past the initial metal guitar frenzy.)

Another one for my collection of the British Mundane.

§   The highlight of the working part of the week was when the doorbell rang and it was a man from an electricity company who was doing a periodic check on the proximity of trees to the overhead power cables and he needed to check our garden. This was a highlight because it was contact with a stranger! A real human being!

It only takes a few days of working at home, gloomed indoors by cloud and so much rain, barely going outside, seeing no one but each other, and this feels like a very odd place to live. It doesn’t do much for one’s mood.

I then begin to wonder why I’ve come on a working holiday in someone else’s chilly and inconvenient life. Who is this person living far from anywhere, driving miles to go shopping at B&Q, Halfords and Dunelm? It doesn’t sound like my life. Who am I?

But then the sun shines, and I have time to go outside for a walk or a run, and I think maybe having to drive everywhere will become vaguely normal – apparently plenty of people find it normal – and maybe this will be OK.

§   So far my sole effort to get out and meet people was a few hours at Herefordshire Board Gamers today. I’ve barely played any tabletop games since the early 1990s but I understand they’ve come a long way and I was struggling to find Googlable signs of local groups I could just turn up to who might be populated by nice people I’d get on with. As I hoped, they were very welcoming and, in the best possible way, geeky. I played a couple of games of BANG! and I’ll go back again sometime.

§   We did also make it out to the cinema, to see Little Women. It only seems like a few months ago there was an adaptation on telly so I wasn’t that bothered about seeing the movie but everyone loves it and I like Greta Gerwig so there we were. It looks great and has good performances but… I don’t know, it was almost too period-drama-picturesque and felt a bit too “huggy” in that American way. And those women were mostly very annoying.

Finding characters annoying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I remember watching A Bigger Splash and the moment it finished the woman in front of me turned to her friend and said, “I hated that, what awful people,” or words to that effect. But I really liked it even though I’d agree they were pretty unbearable. On the other hand I did not enjoy Everybody Wants Some!!, mainly because I did not like the guys in it at all.

I think the difference is the point of view of the film. In Little Women and Everybody Wants Some!!, as different as they are, I feel like I’m supposed to like the characters. So if I don’t like them the film feels flawed somehow, or I feel like I’m doing something wrong. Whereas if the film is showing you some unlikeable people but not saying, “Aren’t they darling!” or “Aren’t they such fun!” then I can watch them and enjoy marvelling at how annoying they are.

Anyway, to get back to Little Women. Maybe I’m too easily confused, but I was frequently baffled by the jumping back and forth between two(?) timelines. I would be hard pressed to recount the film’s events in a regular chronology. These days I’m enormously relieved when a movie or TV show sticks to only moving forward in time.

Oh, and we watched Ad Astra on the telly which was OK. I wasn’t sure if it knew whether it wanted to be a bit actiony or a bit thoughtful and slow and so it had a bit of both, which felt odd. I kept waiting for something more from it — something deeper or more complex or more twisty — but then the end credits began so that was that.

§   That’s all. I slipped up on some ice today and may have hurt my leg a little much to go running. We’ll see. So, all of you, you be careful too!

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