For the record: a dream I dreamed

July 31, 2008

This morning just before I woke up I dreamed I was in a stark grungy building. Molly Ringwald was there but she exploded. Then I had a glass of smoothie made from her remains. It tasted rancid and I thought “Maybe I should have cooked it first”

I had a twinge of nausea but that was probably when the cat stood on my stomach.

Things that I love

July 31, 2008

To get back to the positive and the personal, a short interlude about things that I love this week.

I love… the latest book I picked up: The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield. After my Phantom book fail this is going very well. I love the way she captures the inner workings of people’s minds and how mood and opinion flickers with every little event. I forget that her stories are almost a hundred years old – I suppose the way people feel doesn’t change nearly as much as the way people write about their feelings.

I love… the toner I got from Lush. I can’t remember what it’s called, something Roma, and it’s based on rosewater with a little tea tree oil. Frankly I love most things from Lush, and I am amazed that my hair stays clean for two days with the Karma bar (oh the shameless plugs, these people should pay me). I am now free of the once ever-present threat of grease.

I love… making things. Sewing is going well and the addition of a box to tidy all my crap into has brought favour from the House Folks. I’ve also been working on a story under the place holder title: Electric Dude Interlude. So far I’m pleased with the fragments I’ve produced.

I love… coffee, though no matter how hard I believe it doesn’t cancel out a bad night’s sleep.

The Bridget Jones post

July 31, 2008

So, having a rant about Jane Austen adaptations the other day garnered some interest from I’d like to explain my thoughts around this but I have a feeling they will get terribly out of control and meander all over the place (my train of thought at the best of times being a wobbly shopping trolley full of impulse buys and reduced counter items). My plan is to number the sections and pretend it’s a form of organisation.

1) Jane Austen. My feelings on Austen’s novels are similar to the ones I have for Harry Potter: so many people love them already that I needn’t make too much of an effort to. Unlike Harry Potter I have read most of Austen’s books, my favourite being Persuasion, but I’m not about to have a fangasm by reading it over and over when there are many, many other books also worthy of my attention. Most of my Austen books are actually on loan to my mother at the moment in the hope of improving her taste…

2) Bridget Jones: the novel. This was not in itself a bad book though at the time it came out I was having a heavy aversion to “chick lit” (I think I’ll have to make a separate post about chick lit sometime) so I resented having to study it in school when I naively felt I should be studying “real literature”. It turns out on closer inspection that virtually every plot device in BJD was lifted from Pride and Prejudice and if I knew where that essay was I’d type it out and post it.

I found Bridget to be a stagnant character. She was always frustrated and never achieved anything. One thing she was aiming for was weight loss but even when she reached her goal weight it so happened that a few people said she looked ill that day so she gave it up and put the weight back on. I can appreciate her appeal as a character who didn’t really know what she wanted and just sort of muddled through, and that despite her screw-ups she didn’t do too badly in the balance (perhaps reflected by her tiny scratchcard profit over the year). She is essentially a mediocre person, but that’s ok because we all are. In that light I completely understand the book’s success.

3) Bridget Jones: the movie. The movie character was quite different to the book character. To make her more universally lovable they turned her into a bumbling fool. She was no longer mediocre, she was spectacular in her failure. I can’t remember a single thing that goes right for her other than having sex. If she had had one success, just one little triumph to cling to, if she’d even just been adequately good at her job, I would be able to forgive most of the rest of the movie. Sadly she didn’t, so I can’t, but that just means I don’t like the movie not that the movie itself was bad.

We all screw up, I get it. I’ve worn odd shoes to work, I thrown up in embarrassing places, dated awful men and forgotten to pay my rent. But I don’t accept that as my identity like movie Jones seems to. I’ve also got two degrees, do fairly well at work and make a mean vegetable curry. Really this leads me to my final Jones section:

4) Bridget Jones: the yardstick. This is the Bridget Jones incarnation that makes me shudder. The book was fine, the movie was blah, but the legacy genuinely distresses me. Bridget Jones has become the standard by which women are measured. The yardstick doesn’t do the character justice, not even the movie version, as it has reduced her to an even simpler form: a typical woman.

I resent that Bridget Jones has been chosen as the representative of womankind. I do not fail at everything I attempt; I do not fall over all the time; I do not go out looking like a tit without realising (mostly); I do not hear a clock in my head; I do not care about my size; I do not think that having a man is the be all and end all; I definitely don’t think it’s appropriate to start thinking about marriage 2 months after you start dating. And Bridget didn’t necessarily even do all of these things, they’ve just been added to the yardstick.

You can be a bumbling fool sometimes, but I don’t want people assuming that if they see me do it once that is all I am. The attributes above are not bad in context: Femme falls over all the time and I’m pretty certain she hears a clock in her head but she is a well-rounded capable person. In the same vein I act really childishly with my partner but it doesn’t mean I have the intellectual capacity of a five year old. If people/media were making Bridget Jones comparisons in relation to her character it wouldn’t be so bad, but it looks to me like an easy way of saying “You’re such a big dumbfuck, but we like you that way so keep doing it”.

The Bridget Jones Label is frequently abused to box women into a restricted catagory. I don’t know how easy it would be to shake that label. It especially bothered me when people (including the teacher leading my class when studying this) labelled themselves as Bridget Joneses, because love her or hate her is there anyone out there who respects her?


July 30, 2008

Super speedy ninja post as I have been so busy today.

I have been linked by after they spotted my rant post Oh Jane the other day. That is kind of them and I now imagine Janeites maybe wandering around for a day or so *waves*

I will make a proper post tomorrow, possibly disecting my views on Bridget Jones. Right now I have to run and catch a train.

Notes to self

July 29, 2008

Today I started categorising my posts. I had resisted for the three months but decided it may be of as much benefit to myself as others. I’ve just been going through and making up catagories as I go so I’m not sure if they will stay this way, just thought I should make a note so I knew when this maintenance began.

Also: I started to plan some short stories last night and made more notes on the train this morning (in spite of my sleepface that found it too hard to read a book). I scrawled out the first four ideas of “In Real Life” – a working title that will do for now. I’ve been wondering whether I could email any of my old lecturers for advice but I think that’s a little premature – it’s not as though I don’t have friends who can proofread to a high standard.

Go go Supercorpse!

July 29, 2008

Ok, so it may sound like bad taste to refer to a dead person as Supercorpse but I mean it with the greatest affection. I refer to Heath Ledger. We gave him this name a few days after his passing, when a mixture news tributes and corpse-painted Joker publicity shots all jumbled into one in our fuzzy heads. The next night there was an earthquake which shuddered HF Femme’s bed across the floor and we surmised that it must be the Supercorpse returned and looking for company. The menfolk were confused – they did not understand the love me and Femme felt for Heath and thought we were being disrespectful. They are often confused by us.

I mention delightful Supercorpse because I saw The Dark Knight yesterday and he did somewhat steal the show. It’s easy to do with such a dramatic character but given the story is supposed to be the rise and fall of Harvey Dent I didn’t really notice him much in comparison. I loved the darkness of it all, focused in the Joker’s calculated violence. I have a habit of laughing when something particularly horrific is going to happen and I had a lot of laughs last night – not because it was funny, just deliciously good and pushed to new limits. I am surprised they went to the effort of keeping this film to a 12a rating. I suppose it proves that you don’t need to gore people to demonstrate evil (take that Eli Roth). The Joker’s manic whims and their destructive effects on the way people acted were far more evil than a blowtorch to the face.

I’m going to stop there as I’m a bit meandery from having 4 hours sleep. It has been unbelievably muggy (the cinema was a brief reprieve) and I got up at 1:30 to eat some refreshing chilled melon.

Book fail

July 28, 2008

I am developing an increasing loathing of mail order book companies. To put it in vulgar terms: they suck painfully hard. In the past my naive self signed up for a company thinking that the initial joining deal would furnish me with books so cheap I could sell them at profit and that after that I could order books that I either needed for my course or would enjoy to read (there was also a free gift which broke). An error on my part, certainly, but I learned from the horrible bruise on my wallet.

I realised during this time that the books clubs can sell so cheaply because they produce and sell their own cheap-grade hardback copies of books rather than the larger, higher quality versions you can get in shops. They especially like to produce their own versions of popular classics that are out of copyright, generating even more profit. A good business model, I guess, but having just bought a (second hand) Reader’s Digest copy of the Phantom of the Opera (one of my favourite books and one of the first ‘classics’ I ever read) I was upset to find a printing error: 15 pages had been repeated and the next 15 omitted. The book is impossible to read. This is probably why it was in the second hand shop. Naughty the person who sold it to them, and naughty Reader’s Digest for not having proper QA procedures (or for simply not caring, knowing that many people will consider it too much fuss to complain or not notice until after the return period).

I will never again join a book club. I know I was a fool to join one in the first place but they do work for some people. I found the selection very restricted, the quality poor and the shafting unwarranted. It may just be that after an initial flummox on leaving uni and having no more course texts to absorb I have found my feet and know how to find things I want to read – often things not available in high street bookshops which makes me feel ever so superior.