Monday, 27 December 2010

'My thighs are like tree trunks!'

when a skinny girl complains about her weight, here's a valid reason to get pissed:

even though all women are oppressed by fatphobia and the beauty ideal, being oppressed by and having privilege according to that ideal are not mutually exclusive.'

from sweetmachine comment on shapely prose

Monday, 13 December 2010

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me... brown ankle high boots from River Island.
Slightly unattractively priced at £120, they have nevertheless sold out in nearly every size. COVET.

Monday, 22 November 2010


This week Flashback comes courtesy of Viktor & Rolf's collection for Spring/Summer 2005, to coincide with the launch of their eponymous perfume 'Flowerbomb'. A contradiction of black clad models with motorcycle helmets in the first half and amped up flowers in the second half The models were joyous, the clothes even more so, and the show must have been magical.

love the dip-dyed barbie hair look, plus the exuberant skirt swinging. Remember Sam (with the short hair) who did that on ANTM and Jeremy Scott decried it as incredibly vulgar?

He's one to talk.

More skirt swinging from the Stepford wife on a psychedelic trip. I really want that hair.

The piece de resistance; a dress constructed entirely from bows with hair to match. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Neyo and his lady love

The new song of Neyo displays the omnipresent trilby, some slick MJ glides and a melody that has its catchy moments. The video shows the singer chasing after a girl with the help of his posse, another michael jackson homage that seems painfully familiar and reminiscent of so many other video stories. So far, so RnB. Yet, there's something about the main girl that really caught my eye. She's not as glamorous as some of the other 'video honeys' but there's something really special about her. Watch as she scorns the slick advances of Neyo, rolling her eyes as he moonwalks around her and brushing away his proffered hand, and celebrate that the singer chose to cast a woman with a maturity, who has achievements in something other than wearing booty shorts.

So check her out; her name is Galen Hooks, she's 25 I think and is a choreographer for Miss Jackson (if ur nasty) amongst others. The chorus of 'One In a Million' is pretty catchy, too.

Monday, 1 November 2010

National Institution Makes Disturbing Remarks Via the General Horniness of The Wimminz

Oh, Stephen. You of your national institution status. Maybe you could have even become the Nation's Sweetheart, a la Cheryl Cole. On second thoughts, despite your homosexuality you are definitely too Right White, too Oxbridge schooled. The smear campaign against the genial flaneur has begun, and to be honest, I don't know if he deserves it or not. His crime? An interview with gay magazine Attitude, in which the journalist referenced a previous quote of Fry's on which he discusses my gender's feelings on sex.

"If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: 'God, I've got to get my f———- rocks off', or they'd go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush."

and ever deepening the grave:

"I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want."

The media fallout has been immense: blogs, morning shows, feminists whose wattage has dimmed all jumping on the fry-bashing bandwagon.

Unsurprisedly Fry's reaction has been one of hurt and (dare I say it) slight bitterness. Over the fairly easily understood tweet of 'bye bye', he announced his exit from the social networking site, disappointing his 2 million+ followers. A previous tweet elaborates further: "So some paper misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I'm the Antichrist. I give up."

Akin somewhat to throwing his toys out of the prom, I pretty much doubt Fry will fully quit Twitter - as a platform for publicizing his tv appearances (white rhino anyone?) it is second to none. He does have a valid excuse for anger, though: an interview rehashing old statements without knowing the context of them being given is pretty hacky. However, the journalist in question asserts that Fry's tone when discussing the gender binaries was serious, and the subject was one which he had obviously given previous thought.

So let's examine the obvious man fail in the two statements above.

Vis a vis Hampstead Heath: gay outdoor canoodlings (hehe) came about due to the illegality and subsequent stigma surrounding homosexuality, and therefore the need to conceal these acts to any family members that may abide in the homestead. The park, with very little light also afforded an anonymity from your partner; after all, if you didn't want to reveal your orientation to the world you definitely didn't want an eye witness and testimony from your hook-up. Gay men went to Hampstead Heath because they had no other options: not because they were sex-crazed beasts. The reason for same sex couplings now? the notoriety of the place. It's infamous, and you know when you cruise that you will either get sex, or mugged.

Straight women, luckily, have no such historical narrative. Yet, their sexuality has been similarly safeguarded. I hesitate to insert oft repeated 'double standard men=players women=madonna/whore' because, you know. We get it.

BUT centuries of physical and emotional chastity belts, added to numerous rape horror stories, added to maybe a sexual assault, or knowing someone who has been sexually assaulted, equal a woman who would think twice about entering a pitch-black park with the promise of sex in her head. I also want to cautiously venture that, generally (oh, god, why am I using this word) women are physically smaller. We cannot rape (as easily) and statistically it can feel like men own the power. Why, WHY, would one venture with so little to gain?

Vis a vis quote numero dos: What a ludicrous stereotype. And although I run the risk of this very crime, one would've thought that Fry, as a gay man would be reluctant to label an orientation in such a final manner. God forbid that a woman should want intercourse without at least two carats and a shared surname.

Tommorow: examining the reaction; why some feminists got it entirely wrong, and Jezebel, as usual, got it entirely right.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Dirty Sanchez

Dirty Sanchez: The Movie

Verdict: unwatchable

No usual introduction seems appropriate when discussing four boys who have seen the line of common human decency, and then triple jumped right over it. One infamous exploit led to them being decried as 'repulsive', 'repugnant' and 'obscene' by reviewers of their 2006 movie. The act in question? Eating one of the group's fat, suctioned out by dodgy Thai liposuction just hours before. There is plenty more of this in the group's tv exploits, and the gag reflex which occasionally assaults me during a viewing leaves me confident that I shall never, EVER be going to rent out their film. It's all yours, gentleman.

One of the show's four stars, 'Pancho', stapling his tongue to a desk.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Kell On Earth

on watching yet another episode of the eponymous series -
my head, oh god, my head. I don't know how anyone in the office manages that environment, cos I feel like I've spent a full week at work just watching that show. The wan Stephanie Skinner is subjected to a tongue-lashing from the three witches of Eastwick. If there's any chance of her trawling her name through google alerts; stay strong! You have a lovely shaped face, that's nothing to do with anything but it should help in certain circumstances.

I'm not sure how much of the aforementioned tongue lashing was deserved: obviously you feel for the girl after watching her and the rest of the office going quietly insane during LDN fashion week, but after reading Emily's blog (on Bravo) and seeing her take I could understand how one could get frustrated if her junior had a hundred tabs open on her computer and was floundering without action. However, lets face it she was a bitch in that moment; also, her faux-vargas fringe and lipstick colour are monumentally distracting. Andrew M is his usual fabulous self, missing the one-shouldered dress though I have to say. Also, why isn't at least 40 minutes of screen time devoted to him? I love his and tandrew's semi-relationship, I like to think of them holidaying in Jacksonville together, andrew m grimacing behind an umbrella and tandrew basking like a lizard in all his perma bronzed glory.

Kelly is working on her book, "If you're going to cry, go outside"
Her as a PR girl is slightly paradoxical for me; for someone that professes to speak the gospel truth she sure works in a bullshitting industry. Although, I have seen her fawning over some truly terrible excuses for designers: that idiot Petrous and his copycat Pugh designs being a case in point. Next week, we look forward to Tandrew breaking down and general frivolity being taken very, very seriously.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Derulo, obvious intent

How weirdly literal is Jason Derulo? Case in point:

"I'm puttin on my cover up my eyes"

"ridin solo. S. O. L. O. "

It's like the muppets for an older audience.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Do females in the media have a duty to be 'Role Models'?

The rise and fall of starlets in the media can be traced all the way back to the 1920s, when young actresses like Louise Brooks were heralded as 'new faces' and 'ones to watch'. For someone most infamous for her short bobbed haircut and declaration that she 'hated Hollywood', it is no surprise that she was blacklisted by Paramount for refusing to transition to sound films. Her rebelliousness translated to her style of hair and clothing, her short hair and daring dress confusing the traditional notions of femininity. In her (IMO) most beautiful role, Pandora's Box, she both dresses up in male clothing as a disguise, and wears low cut, diaphonous dresses that leave little to the imagination (for the time period of 20s Weimar Germany, anyway) It is hard to imagine that her personal life off screen: she enjoyed fostering speculation about her sexuality, was said to have been an alcoholic, and once filed for bankruptcy, did not contribute to her and Paramount Studio's fallout.

Comparing Brooks to young stars of the moments such as Taylor Momsen ('Little J' on CW series Gossip Girl) and Miley Cyrus ('Hannah Montana' on the Disney channel) may seem like a leap, but the placing of young women on a pedestal, only to pull it out from under their feet is a depressing normality of Hollywood. 'Little J's appearance at just 14 years old on the series gave some credibility in the face of a lot of 24 year olds trying to pass as 16. She was fresh-faced, naturally extremely pretty, quiet and demure. Now, if to you these sound like qualities more akin to a 19th century booklet on 'The Angel of The Home', congratulations! In the subsequent two years, 'little J' did something that seems to confuse a lot of us, despite the passing of time being a pretty normal phenomenon. She grew up. My argument is not that this is what happens to every girl when she hits her teenage years! Chill out, everyone! There are a lot of girls, and will always be a lot of girls, who grow up without deciding to dress provocatively or rebel in other ways.

Then there are those other girls who, like it or not, decide to 'act out' as I believe the Americans say. Some of Taylor's heinous crimes? Caught on set smoking a cigarette. Being the frontwoman of a band. Wearing too much eyeliner. Wearing visible garters. Wearing skirts that are too short, or *snicker* no skirt at all. The way some media outlets report it, you would think she had shot up on stage at the MTV Movie Awards. Perez Hilton especially is viciously cruel when it comes to actresses like Cyrus and Momsen. On Momsen, the inevitable white scrawls that are plastered over her photo accompany text that reads: 'Makeup is supposed to make a girl look good, not like a hot tranny mess'. Makeup that makes a statement, whether it be an avant-garde one like the work of backstage beauty guru Pat McGrath, or the overloaded eyes of Momsen, is a truth clearly lost on Perez.

Miley Cyrus, ever since that Annie Leibowitz photo, has been the fodder for many a lazy tabloid mid-week filler: DISNEY STAR IN HOTPANTS or something of that nature being a predictable headline (newsflash: she lives in Tennessee! From what I gather, it's pretty hot there, people) Her performance at infamous G.A.Y nightclub in London attracted more vitriolic press, Perez Hilton again being one of the outlets that called her out on the promiscuity of 'Slutty Cyrus's' performance, where she was' groped' by dancers and simulated a lesbian kiss with a dancer.

That Hilton, a gay Cuban man and supposed activist for gay rights and minorities is questioning any deviation from a hetero-normative sexuality or from standardized notions of beauty is sad to say the least. Yes, these girls are 'role models', whatever that means any more. However, their first and foremost duty is to be true to themselves, not some cliche of a virginal Disney starlet. Miley's previous claim of abstinence can probably be refuted after the revelation came that she was living with her boyfriend, Liam Hensworth, but she should be allowed to change her mind, and to make mistakes. I would rather, for instance, that Taylor Momsen go out with no knickers on than to make another statement about her disinterest in Haiti (sample quote: “Um, right now I’m trying to just finish my record and getting through the last season of Gossip Girl for right now. So not so much thinking about that.” Yes, that was an ignorant and obnoxious thing that came out of her mouth, and maybe she should be getting called out on that rather than the length of her hemlines.

Even if these girls are rebelling against the Hollywood norm by pre-packaged, media-manipulated's a start, at least.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Taylor Swift, the serial white dress wearer

So, we have Miley with her peace-sign making and some kind of ripped denim, Taylor Momsen with raccoon eyes and visible garters, Avril Lavigne and her faux-emo chains and wristbands

A while ago I noticed that Taylor Swift had another 'thing', a sign visible to all in the way of the white dress. The message? I am virginal. I am a girl. I am a good girl. I am America's sweetheart, the daughter you never had, and I would never have pre-marital sex and raise the child on YOUR tax money. She even references it in her song 'Love Story', the lyric being, "I talked to your dad/now go pick out a white dress/It's a love story/ Baby just say yes" Inneresting.

Being the investigative sleuth that I am, I decided to do some trawling through the interweb and try and find every image I could of Taylor and her white dress.

This is from a very basic google images search (accreditations below) I know the comments have been a little dysfunctional lately (dam blogspot), but add your own if you can. I wonder if she's trying to tell us anything?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Rider of the Week: Tony McCoy

Name: Tony McCoy/ A.P. McCoy
Age: 36 (b. 1974)
Location: Cheltenham
Origins: Northern Ireland
Height: 5" 10
Ride Weight: 10st
Owner: J.P. McManus
Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill

Notable Wins:
  • Champion Chase: Edredon Bleu 2000
  • Champion Hurdle: Make A Stand 1997, Brave Inca, 2006, Binocular 2010
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup: Mr. Mulligan, 1997
  • King George: Best Mate 2002
  • Irish Grand National: Butler's Cabin, 2007
  • William Hill Trophy: Wichita Lineman, 2009
  • Ryanair Chase : Albertas Run, 2010
  • Midlands Grand National : Synchronised, 2010
  • Bet 365 Gold Cup : Hennessy, 2009
  • Tingle Creek Chase : Master Minded, 2008
  • Melling Chase : Viking Flagship, 1996, Albertus Run, 2010
  • Grand National : Don't Push It, 2010

Dressage Profile of the Day: Alexandra Duncan

This is the beginning of my 'rider of the week' profile, starting with dressage rider Alexandra Duncan.

Name: Alexandra Duncan
Age: 20
Nationality: Canadian
Origins: West Vancouver B.C.
Trainers: Swedish Olympic rider Jan Brink
The one, the only, Anky (does she need a last name?!)
Achievements: 2005: Canadian Junior Rider Champion
2006: team gold and individual bronze at the North American Young Riders Championships
2006: 4th with her Holsteiner mare Elektra at the 2006 FEI Young Rider World Cup Final (Frankfurt)
2007: individual and team gold medal winner at the 2007 North American Junior/Young Riders Championships as well as the recipient of the Fiona Baan Memorial Trophy awarded to the Young Rider with highest average percentage score from Team and Individuals.

Her personal website can be found here:
and her blog is really interesting, I literally read the entire thing in one go!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Umberto Eco: Overinterpreting Texts

Interpretation of the world based on relationships of one thing to another; or, as Eco puts it, 'the relationships of sympathy that link microcosm and macrocosm'
Eco references Michael Foucault in his groundbreaking work 'les mots et les choses' in his examination of the paradigm of similarity, but instead of Foucault's narrow critique of '[the paradigm of similarity] dissolved into the paradigm of modern science' in the Renaissance, Eco assures the reader that it will be more comprehensive and outline his term of 'hermetic semiosis'

Hermetic semiosis
-ve points
1. its decisions on what things were similar was too broad; as eco calls it, 'overindulgent'
Therefore every time someone thinks they have discovered a truth, it will point to it signifying for anothet endless cycle
2. If 2 things are similar, then each can become the sign for each-other. However: Eco 'the word dog is not similar to a dog'
3. there is a lot of problematic cultural analogy, eg a pig is not similar to the word, through the physical habits of pigs we can link them to physical habits of people, thus declaring people pigs in a pejorative sense assuming some cultural knowledge.
3. makes use of false transitivity: aka if A=B and B=C then A must =C
3. A consequence is assumed and interpreted as the cause of its own cause
Relevant and Fortuitous similiarities
A fortuitous similarity is thus: we see a person, who we presume to be A, in the distance. On closer look the person is a stranger, B, after which we give no further credence to the similarity and mark it as fortuitous, or illusory.

The hermeticism of the renaissance was over-explaining, always looking for clues that revealed occult relationships.

Analogies can be formal or morphological (eg cactus having two bulbs that looked like testes: ppl changed its functional analogy to a morpholigical one: deeming it to have libidinal and virile aspects)

Friday, 12 February 2010


If you'll scroll down a couple of posts, you will se my review for play 'The Misanthrope'. Unfortunately, judging to two girls my age who act as arts editors for our crumb of a newspaper, the piece, 'lacked direction', and thus will not be featuring in this, or any other edition of the Boar. However, they were kind enough to extend a small hand of mercy to this old thing, adding 'don't give up, we can see that you have a flair for writing.' oh, really? can you? I'm sorry, I had no idea that overnight Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington had miraculously taken over your bodies and given you forty years of experience from which to back up your condescending attitudes. Miraculous. Anyway, in a couple of days I shall post the edited version which I sent (because you didn't think I'd submit a piece with the line, 'fit gingers' in it, did you?)

For anyone out there who is a struggling writer, or a struggling anything, I feel you man!! rejection sucks! forget NA, they need a WA - 12 steps to accepting rejection.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Foolish Is the Man

who attempts to tame the beast. This is a piece I wrote for a student newspaper, apparently about 700 words got cut so here is the uncensored version - take THAT lousy fresher editors!!!

Foolish is Man
But to What Extent did the Media Contribute to Their Deaths?

Patrice Faye, Timothy Treadwell and Steve Irwin. All three of these men shared a consuming and ferocious passion for dangerous animals. The latter two, however, share something altogether more sinister ; they were both killed by the creatures they wanted so desperately, and publicly, to protect. Steve Irwin, who served as a benchmark of what it meant to be Australian with his khaki shorts, inane catchphrases and enthusiastic disposition was killed, not as so many had predicted, by one of his beloved crocodiles, but by a stingray that put a barb straight through his heart. Treadwell, who possessed an almost identical mop of blonde hair and fervent attitude to his animal of choice, the ursus actos (brown bear), got not only himself killed, but his girlfriend, Amie Huguengard, and two of the bears he had spent the last thirteen years trying to protect. The three men share, or shared in the case of Treadwell and Irwin, an insatiable passion for the spotlight.

However, despite what some might dismiss as simple fame-whoring or desire to increase awareness of their cause, we should ask ourselves what part the reader and media contributed in their endless production and consumption of dangerous acts. Irwin, the most infamous of the three, was built up by the media as an outsider, the 'Other', yet simultaneously assuming all the characteristics of a clichéd Australian, with his dark tan, bleach blond hair and relaxed air when staring into the 'jaws of death', as a local Sydney newspaper so breathlessly put it. As Adam Hills accurately joked, 'he was like Australia's Princess Diana'. However, Irwin's title as 'king of the crocodiles' (another media -assigned pseudonym) was stripped after he pulled a Michael Jackson, dangling his baby son in a crocodile pen. He afterwards explained that the child was not in any danger - one might wonder what he thinks does qualify as a dangerous situation - but it was too late: the media had banished him from their list of extreme heroes, and he would only regain this status posthumously.

Now it feels as though Irwin has been both lionized as some kind of royal institution, yet also held up as an example of what happens when man and nature mix. I remember me and my brother approaching our sleeping dad, my brother gravely narrating in Irwin's familiar twang: 'now I'm gonna poke him with this stick. what a beauty! Let's see what he does,' and running away as a predictably enraged dad awoke. Irwin's lure to children, with his natural enthusiasm for touching and provoking animals is obvious, and was criticized by Jean-Michel Cousteau, who insisted against his hands-on approach, stating: 'you don't touch nature. You just look at it.'
In Treadwell too, there is a natural childishness that endeared him to the youth of America. Werner Herzog, who made the documentary Grizzly Man about Treadwell, described him as visiting thousands of schools, un-paid, in order to 'educate the pupils about the bears.' Quite what we taught them is unclear, as he is described as a self-taught naturalist and former alcoholic and drug-addict, who continuously flouted park legislation. He did not carry pepper spray or use electric fencing in camp, two things he was repeatedly asked to do for his own safety.

He said he had used pepper spray once and was distressed by the bear's reaction. He lived in the Katmai national park in Alaska, a federally protected reserve rather than the inhospitable and remote wilderness he made out. Park rangers, irritated by his constant violations even proposed new legislation titled: 'The Treadwell rule', insisting that persons should not camp in the same place for over seven days. In Herzog's documentary we see him get precipitously close to the animals he claims are his friends; at one point, he is swimming in a lake with a female bear and narrowly misses getting clobbered across the head by her. "At best he is misguided," Deb Liggett, former superintendent at Katmai told the Anchorage Daily News in 2001. "At worst, he's dangerous, if he models unsafe behaviour that ultimately puts bears and other visitors at risk." A worse consequence than that, however, is the fearful response that the dual killing provoked in the public. Though we understood it as partly 'deserved', a stance which many media outlets took, the grisly reporting's: photos of Treadwell's chewed leg and lurid descriptions of the four bags of remains that were taken out of a bear's stomach certainly did not help Timothy's assurance of bears as 'mostly harmless.'

Herzog got hold of some audio footage of the couple's death, and listens to it in the film. Whilst it is almost certainly a distressing experience for him, and despite urging the owner of the tape that it should be destroyed, the fact is that Herzog did listen to it, and thus is much a spectator to the extreme sports of these men as we are. The most dangerous threat that is posed to these men, is, it seems, their bravado.

Treadwell adopted a posturing and posing bluster, demonstrated in his endless re-takes of action shots of him running down hills.
He, and Irwin were renegades, in their childlike nature, their fearlessness, and refusal to join normalized society. Treadwell, who dressed like a pirate with his black bandanna,
seems to be a lovable and harmless man, whose years alone turned him into a proselytizing lunatic. He gives his bears ridiculous nicknames: 'Cracker, Aunt Melissa, The Grinch and Mr Chocolate' being just a few of my favourites, and possesses a boyishness that seems slightly naive in the face of the animals he was dealing with. Yet, it must be taken into account that he lived and continuously interacted with these bears, and other animals for thirteen years. He got amazing footage - Grizzly Man is all up on youtube and worth a watch- and had an indubitable affinity with the creatures. In a particularly lovely scene Treadwell is joined by a fox, 'Spirit' and her cubs while he ponders on leaving the idyllic plains of the park to venture into the altogether more inhospitable 'grizzly maze.' Fellow grizzly enthusiast Charlie Russell defended him, saying: 'If Timothy had spent those thirteen years killing bears and guiding others to do the same, eventually being killed by one, he would have been remembered in Alaska with great admiration', and it seems clear that his death has been used by some organizations as propaganda for the shooting of bears.

There seems to be have been a re-appropriation of the landscape by all three of the adventurers. Irwin used both sea and land as his own personal playground, getting his hands on whatever beast he could find. Treadwell spoke at length at how he was a visitor in the bears world, 'I am like a flower...a fly on the wall' but there is no doubt that he felt he was the most deserving of being their guest, and often makes problematic statements
to the camera about being both one of them, and ruling over them: 'I will be one of them. I will be master.'
In Faye's case, he has re-invented himself as a primary figure in Burundi, the east African home of 'Gustave', a crocodile estimated to be 60 years old, 20 feet (6.1 m) in length and to weigh around 1 ton. A Telegraph feature on Faye describes him as taking a 'young, beautiful Burundian wife', and despite his similar position to Treadwell as an autodidact, he sees himself as conservationist and lecturer to the people in the villages. There is an uneasy colonial air about Faye, only increased with his dismissive attitude towards the inhabitants of the area surrounding the Ruzizi river. Faye attributes Gustave's nature as a man-eater to the war in Burundi, which left hundreds of human bodies floating in the rivers.

Gustave, he says, then developed 'a taste for human flesh', and became so large and greedy that his only prey now are slower animals, such as humans. Though there have been estimates of him eating 300 people, Faye dismisses the wild estimate, stating that 'it has been more like 60, and he doesn't eat all of them - he just hunts them for sport.' Faye's somewhat blase attitude in the article becomes even more disturbing on learning that the death of his friend and fellow researcher, a Burundian villager, was Faye's first reason to take revenge on Gustave. Now though, he is seemingly entranced by the animal, even stating at one point that he would not kill Gustave even if he ate 'someone in my close family.' Immortalized by the 2007 film, Primaeval, the digitized Gustave gallops across the screen like "a champion of cross-country races who devours campsites and cars, climbs trees, and swallows boats," Faye wrote in an indignant letter to Burundi's newspapers. "In short, poor Gustave is a victim of fantasies and becomes more monstrous than ever."

His assumed indestructibility: there are reports of him having scars on his side, face and even the inside of his mouth where soldiers have shot at him give him status as a mythic creature from the deep, compounded by locals calling him 'a red monster with glowing yellow eyes'. Despite this, Faye insists, it usually only take 3 weeks after a death before the villagers use the riverbanks once again. 'It is hot, the water feels good and they forget.' This seems remarkable, until we remember that the people need the water, both for bathing and washing clothes, and for fishing.

The trio of adventurers all have similar admirable qualities: of boyishness, courage and a fearlessness that transcends danger. Ultimately, though, their desire to, as Herzog puts it 'leave the confines of [their] human-ness', rather than any boring aim of protecting or educating the public, is dangerous, not only for them, but for others swayed by their mythologizing in the media. It is up to us to decide whether these 'conservationists' are furthering the cause of animal rights, or hindering it with their choices.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The trap

hmmm. A friend recommended this to me, gushing about how it chnaged your perception of the world we live in. It is certainly very interesting, but I literally hear my tutor's voice throughout the entire documentary; namely, paranoid and scaremongering. It's basic premise is that in a seriosuly misguided attempt to give the british public back our freedom, a liberal democractic party has basically ensured our confinement and restriction in any direction possible.

here's the link:

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Lets stop using the Word Clever

One meaning, right?

when pushed for its meaning, people will usually respond with a bemused, 'who gives a shit' expression and then just repeat said word, usually accompanied with another name for it. 'You know-clever. smart'

'Yes, but what do you mean by smart. Street smart? Book smart? [to use two popular expressions?] Has been awarded educational privilege according to various factors of
1. race (white, natch)
2. age
3. social class
4. location
5. wealth?
Or, has street smarts owing to his privilege of
1. having an older brother in juvi
2. living in an area where 'how to make a car bomb' was the only adult education course available at the local village hall
3. being so poor that learning to pick a lock in under 30 sec was a necessary skill

If someone knows a lot aboput spectroscopy but can't open a tin of macaroni, are they intelligent or a fool? If someone can rewire a refrigerator but can't tell you the date of the second world war, is he a skilled craftsman or an ignorant twat?

You see?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Misanthrope

I braced myself against the chilly streets of London last night to see a theatre production about which I had - well - curiously enough, no assumptions at all.

The play is a modern adaptation of Molieres: one of his most regarded, yet possibly most unique works. Unusually for the playwright, Moliere dispenses with character nuance and trajectory, whilst almost entirely ignoring plot. Alceste, a writer who is by parts admirably honest and laughingly idealistic, abandons his moral high-horse when he meets Celimene, a beautiful young actress who jars with his ethical snobbery whilst bewitching him utterly. Try as he might to open her eyes to the shallowness of the world she immerself herself in, Celimene remains, to the end, refreshingly vain. As ghastly as her charcter can sometimes be, the pure acceptance of the reality of her situation gives her a commendable practicality that the idealist Alceste seems to lack.

The satire of French aristocrats is transformed by Martin Crimp into a expose of the hypocrisy of modern-day intelligentsia. Unlike most 'updates' of classics (any and every re-working of Romeo and Juliet springs to mind), this didn't set my teeth on edge. Voicemail messages in rhyming couplets combine the modern and ancient to humorous effect, and whilst references to modern-day are slightly overblown: think the RSC, LLoyd-Webber and David Cameron, the audience certainly seemed very happy. Fairly 'straight' parts of Alceste (Damian Lewis) and wingman John (Dominic Rowan) were played well, reciting their verse with a punch, yet avoiding overstatement. The more flamboyant characters of Julian (Chuck Iwuji) and Alexander (Nicolas Le Prevost) could, and did, allow themselves a lot more freedom, taking great delight in shaping and twisting the words.

The mise-en-scene, a hotel room conceived by Hildegard Betchler is suitably apt for Knightley's starlet 'Jennifer' (changed from Celimene), strewn with Chanel bags, silver pumps and thousands of Vogues. As Knightley is the current 'muse' of Chanel this is suitably apt, and the connections that the director continously alludes to between Jennifer's life and Knightley's own makes one wonder if the part was at all a stretch.

I'm usually the first to jump on the bitch bandwagon, taking an instant dislike to starlets for an outfit, a phrase taken out of context, a professed love for nuclear physics (see Lou Douillon and Milla Jovovich), and the always coy confession to the interviewer of their past life as an ugly duckling (I've seen Cameron Diazs' high-school photo, ok?! Come on, now.) However, despite the sometimes dubious acting chops of Knightley and her admission of looking in the mirror and seeing a 'funny face', I can't muster the strength to hate her. Strasbourg and ilk may consider great actors such as Olivier, Day-Lewis to have sprung up from a warm rock somewhere fully equipped to cry on queue, look interested in some very boring dialogue and pull off pantaloons with aplomb, but skeptics could argue that acting, like may other crafts can be learnt.

Whilst Knightley's talent in stinkers like 'The Hole' and 'Bend it Like Beckham' can be questioned, the effect of a good script and great voice coach cannot be argued. Her wasp-esque interpretation of Jennifer is a curious mix of naivete, knowing sexuality and childish manipulation, and she plays off well against Lewis' self-righteous indignation and curse of the left wing intelligentsia. Martin Crimp's updated version of Molière's play can sometimes feel overly referential: attacking LLoyd Webber, The RSC and even us the theatre goer, but the rhyming couplets and adaptation thereof are a triumph. Worth a look, especially if you are a fan of pretty chanel-strewn sets and fit gingers.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Amanda Knox

Hardly breaking news, but I have been, as usual, gripped by this agatha christie-esque murder. As an afficionado of gristle and gore (Killing Mum and Dad, anyone?)*, this murder has all the key components: a beautiful would-be killer (see Basic Instinct), an Italian lover (erm, can't remember any horror films with an Italian stallion but sure there are hundreds), the token ethnic minorities to pad out the story (Rudy Guede and Patrick Diya Lumumba) and an innocent student (kercher)

The media of course blew it up, seeming to swing surprisingly in favour of the black bar-owner's innocence. Of course there was no evidence to convict him or even bring them to trial, but obviously the word of a white girl was enough to arrest. Also, the lure of a 'sex game gone wrong' headline proved to difficult to resist, and despite Knox's parents' belief in her getting off, going so far as to buy her a ticket back home, it seems as though the sentence was given and Knox's head placed on the axe before the jury was out.

As hard as I have tried to come to some sort of decision, to take one side in friends' numerous arguments, I find it impossible to form a bias. This, however, has not proved so hard for a lot of the public and media. For a catholic Italy, Amanda's promiscuity seems to have ran her own death knoll.

* on a side note, my mum came in last night, innocently asked what I was watching and then made an incredibly distasteful joke about me 'not getting any ideas'. brrr, thanks mum.