Times they are up heaving

August 26, 2008

Changes have been happening. Housefolk Femme has gone, leaving babycat with a hole in her heart. I have moved my things into my partner’s room, so that after two years of squatting it is finally my room too. We took a bus ride to the end of the line and saw the border of Worcestershire. I saw an old friend and finally realised that our differences didn’t mean my inferiority.

It’s been intense. More than the run-of-the-mill bank holiday. And now I’m flat broke.

I do worry about money. Old Friend was telling us her mother likes her boyfriend because in ten years he’s set to be earning half a million. To me that is an inconceivable amount of money. After tax that’s still more than my yearly salary per month. I’ll just have to convince myself that my lifestyle is romantic and that I’m a starving artist. The only way to justify this of course is to apply myself to my art so look out for more extracts in the coming weeks and you’ll know I’m making good on it.

I could just make peace with being poor. In fact I don’t mind my lack of money most of the time, I probably just need to manage what I’ve got more effectively (damn jargon word). But in saying these things I’m letting myself off the hook for not writing. And I must write, otherwise I’m wasting everything I’ve achieved so far and using it simply to coast, and while you can coast at work you shouldn’t coast through life.

Oh Jane

July 25, 2008

After musing with Femme about the curse of Bridget Jonesism and reading the following article about another Austen rehash I thought it might be good to spend some time thinking aloud.


Jane Austen = beloved author of just 6 books (some more popular than others).

Austen novels = out of copyright = moneyspinner for production companies.

Shitloads of other amazing books = out of copyright… hmm

Austen may not own the market as such but her work never seems to go out of fashion. Much like Shakespeare there will always be those who find it stuffy and dull but it will always be loved well enough to make a profit. Profit is a key word, obviously, as nothing is ever produced for the good of the people.

Making a safe profit restricts media output. At this point I get sidetracked – feel free to skip the next paragraph.

*Funnily enough indie films are gaining popularity because they don’t tick the safe boxes and we’ve even started getting mainstream imitation indie films like Elizabethtown which I watched last night and found charming enough though slipped into stalker territory at the end (why Hollywood confuses stalking with affection I’m still not sure, but this film made an effort to have some heart and the mother’s character was fantastic). *

What I find irritating is that contemporaries of the great and beloved and the great and unknown never really get a look in, while stupid adaptations and rehashes of the great and beloved (I’m looking at you, Helen Fielding) are spaffed out in abundance because they know the audience will recognise the familiar story and accept it. They are unlikely to hate it. It’s sad that that is the bar they are aiming for really: to get as many people as possible to not hate it. Not to create a core of fans, not to challenge people in a ‘I’m not sure how I feel about this, you watch it with me and we’ll talk about it’ way (what with brain-use positively discouraged and all). If anything they want to reinforce the beliefs they think we have already so that we more readily relate to the characters. This is where I come to Bridget Jones.

The book ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ was not dreadful. I hated it because I had write my A-Level coursework essay comparing it to Pride and Prejudice and I had been intending never to read it. It turns out Fielding ripped off a lot more from Austen than is first apparent, from which I conclude Fielding isn’t very good at writing plots/full length novels. But the book is mediocre, chick lit fodder and it’s huge success is unprecedented – I believe the Austen connection carried it a long way.

I may have resented having to read the book but being an avid reader and admiring how much of Pride and Prejudice she managed to cram in there it’s not actually the book I have a problem with. Bridget Jones as a character has become a benchmark, a representative of women in our culture, and she is a feeb. A total and utter feeb who can do little to nothing by herself and frequently fails spectacularly. She is obsessed by how she could possibly get men but doesn’t consider that these are just two of many men on this Earth and might in fact both be shit. Or just incompatible with her feeble self. She complains feebly about her feeble self but does nothing positive. I have anti-sympathy for her plight.

If I have anti-sympathy for Bridgie you can imagine how I feel about those who compare themselves, others, or the general female population with her. Her example has made it more acceptable to be a feeb. To sit around and whine about your life failing, to be obsessively insecure to the point where you ignore all your friends and to most definitely ignore your friends if there is the possibility of making a highly unsuitable man develop and interest in your feeble self. Bridget Jones gives you the permission to be lazy, to give up caring about things that might make you happy and resign yourself to the feeling that you knew all along that you were rubbish and no one loves you.

How can this character be based on Lizzie Bennett? Bright, sparkly, proud, sharp as a tack Lizzie; the young woman who loves her friends, despairs of her parents, and won’t accept the condescension of Mr Darcy – refusing him until he shows a little respect rather than humiliating herself as his feet. I expect I am just repeating what half the internet have said already but all my grated feelings came up again and I had to get them out.

Housing crisis update

July 24, 2008

I’ll admit, it was starting to get sticky. We were all supposed to be leaving at the end of August, and with my partner not yet in work and only six weeks to organise the whole thing we were starting to get concerned. Luckily the shit of our economy has hit the fan of recession and our landlord is now unable to sell the house out from under us. I’m sure he’s pleased because he loves us really. This means we can stay put for a while longer and gradually amass the wealth we need and the time we would prefer to look for our next home. We have also been given full licence to decorate the house (with offers of paint vouchers) and as there will be fewer of us turn one of the downstairs rooms into a dining area. This pleases me as I have not eaten at a table for years, and it will make our house less student-like. It also provides a second room to hang out in, so we will have more living space. I intend to buy a bookcase. Or three. I will need them for all the cast-offs I pinched from (soon to be former) Housefolk Femme.

Yesterday I learned how to perform a poisoned kiss. The trick is to snarf a big, juicy pear then kiss someone allergic to raw food. Let the itchiness ensue.