Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Monday, 3 November 2008

Hope for Tomorrow

Tomorrow – or today for most of you reading this – is the day of the US Presidential Election. God that's narcissistic; there will be all that going on tomorrow – papers full of it and coverage on every single news channel – and I still anticipate that you will have taken time to read the witterings of a slightly-bonkers-but-officially-not-mad woman. If any of you are reading this on November 4th 2008 then for goodness' sake go and put BBC News 24, Sky News or CNN on or something! Not Fox News though. If you watch Fox News then you shouldn't be reading this bloggy-thing at all, because you'll believe every damned thing I say – however preposterous. You probably even believe John McCain's camp when they tell you that Barack Obama is a "muslim terrorist baby-killer," and you will also have (on at least one occasion) fantasised about the homicidal-librarian-alike Sarah Palin spanking you with a novelty gun-club bookmark. If you answered yes to any of those questions then go and read the Daily Mail or something and delete this site from your browser favourites. (More of the old narcissism I see. I don't presume you clicked a link – which I probably sent you anyway – I assume you have it saved and are notified by a fanfare of emails whenever I update this page.)

Anyway, I am not voting for Barack Obama because I can't. There’s some stupid law about British people not being allowed to vote for American politicians. I think it's the same law which states that all our politicians have to be ugly bullshitting bastards that we don't particularly want to vote for – and sometimes don't even get the chance to vote for! …Yes Gordon, I mean you. (I know what you're thinking, but hinting that the PM reads this is not narcissism, it’s fact.) If I could vote for Obama however, then I most definitely would. I have been seduced by his charisma, and the glitz and glamour he has brought to proceedings with his campaign. "Oooh, they could have their first black president! Lets get rid of the retarded cowboy and let this charming mixed-race chap have a go. I'm not entirely clear on his policies but he's a damn fine looking guy and has a profile that will look marvellous on collectable coinage in the future. But for gawd's sake someone board up the White House cat-flap so Monica Lewinski can't get back in."

Barack Obama

You will by now know who won the election, whether you're reading this the day of – or the year after – the event. (Modesty, see it? The "year after." I have obviously grown as a person in the space of two paragraphs. Okay... only a little bit, but progress is progress.) I'll not bore you with political musings, as I'd only make a fool of myself. The other day I completely forgot about Al Gore because when I watched that election I was focused so intently on being annoyed at losing Bill Clinton from the political stage that I paid very little attention to the pair vying to succeed him. Actually, I think that's how George Bush got in. (Again, somebody make sure that bloody cat flap is secure, will you?)

As I was exhausted today and plan to stay up all night tomorrow to watch the coverage of the election, I stayed offline most of this evening planning to rest. So, in place of prowling the internet making a prat of myself as I usually do, I watched a host of shamelessly romantic and saccharine films instead. They're so utterly without cinematic merit that they're even considered tawdry examples of that much maligned genre the 'chick-flick'. So why do I watch them? And moreover, why do I continue to enjoy them (even if it is accompanied by a large helping of self-loathing for having such pedestrian – not to mention oestrogen-friendly -- tastes in movies.)?

I have been asking myself that question and really don't think it's as straightforward as being a daft-and-romantic girly. I've never protested my daftness, but I do often find myself having to justify myself as an 'unromantic.' In a woman that's not generally expected, and people often think I eschew it because of feminist ideals (and I'm pretty sure my mother still occasionally wonders if I am a lesbian, purely and simply because I didn't cry at Dirty Dancing and can't quote it from beginning to end.)

My mothers ludicrous misconceptions aside, there is still the question of why – if I am as unromantic as I claim to be – do I watch films made entirely for those whose hearts sit desperately close to their sleeves? I think the answer lies in my previous description of these movies as being "saccharine." If romance is sugar, then idealism is artificial sweetener; both have the same effect, but whilst one is notoriously bad for you, the other likes to consider itself to be the more virtuous option.

I know I am an idealist, and whilst my belief in god is vague, and my faith in humanity often tested; the thing I believe in above all else is hope. Hope that things will get better, or hope that they will not get worse. For me, these sorts of films buy right into that set of values. A romantic sees the protagonist stroll off into the sunset with their one true love and bathes in the afterglow of a happy ending. An idealist such as myself witnesses that same scene, and is more comforted by the message of hope: the idea that whatever may be around the corner for the loved-up pair heading out toward the dimming golden light, they hope that their lives will improve now that they have found each other. That is, I feel, always the underlying sentiment I am left with when watching this genre of movie. Whatever the set of circumstances on which the credits roll, they always end with the characters feeling they now have a little more hope for a better tomorrow.

I also think it has a little bit to do with overcoming obstacles. That is a predominant theme in many movies, not merely the 'chick-flicks' of which I speak tonight. There is always some endeavour; something or someone standing between the man and his true love; the woman and her dream job (yes, I did deliberately have the man be the one looking for love and the woman as the career driven one. It may only be an example but that doesn’t mean it has to conform to traditional stereotypes.) Back to the point: a lot of my own life has been given over to "beating the odds" and whilst there are lots of genres of film where the protagonist has trials to succeed in if they are to meet their ultimate goal, in many they chart the story of little people doing very big things. The scale is often far too grand for someone like myself to feel I can identify with, whereas in a 'chick flick' the triumph over adversity tends to come in the form of ordinary people fighting toward an aim that is shared by many other ordinary folk. Whether portrayed as family, friends, career, or soulmate – the pursuit of love is the underlying theme of all this type of film – and that to me represents something far less hopeless, and far more attainable: the extraordinary achievement of a commonplace desire.

(...That said, I still wouldn't recommend 'The Lake House.')

After typing that, I went downstairs and made a cup of tea and while passing through the living room (on the most direct route there is to the kettle without jumping out of the back bedroom window,) and I heard a muffled swishing noise coming from behind the redundant gas fire, which probably means it will all need to be unscrewed tomorrow because a bird has fallen down the chimney again. This occurrence is not nearly as frequent now as when our neighbour bred racing pigeons; as when it was the season for all his young birds to fledge, they seemed suicidally drawn to dive-bomb our chimney like little fluffy kamikaze pilots.

Just for once I'd like to go into the kitchen at night and not be accosted by a cat, a dog, a tortoise, a mouse, a pigeon or a bloody great big spider with 86 million legs and a murderous gleam in its eyes.

When other people complain about living in an "Orwellian State" they usually mean Big Brother, so why did I get Animal Farm?

(Yes, I am aware that Animal Farm is a bit darker and more intellectual than 'the bit in Snow White where the sparrows help to do the washing up' - but this bloggy thing isn't ironically called 'Meretricious Nonsense' you know.)

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