October 23, 2013

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September 9, 2013

A Real Hero

September 7, 2013


Just finished watching Drive. I think the first half is great. There is a good amount of Ryan Gosling staring. And there are some great shots, different shots, like when he offers the kid the toothpick. He brings it up from underneath; it’s shots like that that surprise me, and I think, oh yeah, that’s different. And it plays with me too so that I’m interested but it doesn’t play too much so that I feel like an idiot. Like when he’s dressed as a cop, but it’s only for a couple of seconds that you’re wondering what’s going on, then you realise it’s a movie and you’re okay. That’s all good. And there’s the kid too and the girl and there’s Gosling. There is always Gosling. Ah, Gosling, we all say, with the staring and the driving and the gloves and the jacket.

But the second half does get violent. I don’t think it’s unwarranted. But it is violent. And it justifies the certificate, but there’s no more nudity/bad language in it than any Nicholas Cage movie. In fact, there is probably less. I would never stop anyone from watching Ghost Rider or Season of the Witch or Bangkok Dangerous but I would rather Drive was seen ten times before they saw any of the above. After all, Gosling and just the right amount of staring.

September 6, 2013




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September 5, 2013

Warm September

Today it’s a warm & sunny September day. Days like today always remind me of a few things.

They remind me of going back to school & it’s still too hot to play sport but you’re made to do it anyway. You’re made to run in rugby kit & the ground is hard & everyone has to make the decision whether to wear trainers or boots & everyone who chooses trainers immediately regrets it because you just can’t play rugby in trainers.

It reminds me of the September after I left school, before university, on holiday in Florida. We were all there. I know I’ll look back in a number of years and think that was the time just before everything changed. In fact, I think that a little now, but I hope I’ll have better perspective then. Florida is very hot at that time of year. It’s hurricane season too but I can’t remember much about that. I remember the beaches were sandy and there were pelicans. & it’s only a week before you leave home, probably for good, & you have no idea what that’s going to feel like. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to actually experience it but I just wanted to know what it would feel like.

It reminds me of the time Ali & I walked in the mountains & we were late for the train & we had to take a short cut and ford across the river Dyfi. We were going to cut onto the train track & cross over the bridge & get the train from Dyfi Junction but some other walkers we met on top of a mountain were against the idea & said if we got caught we’d get it & even though we knew that probably wouldn’t happen we were still too sacred of getting caught to try it. So instead we cut down into the valley & jumped some fences until we made it to the river & then feeling like we were Bear Grylls took our clothes off, put everything in our rucksacks, tied our boots together, slung them round our necks & stepped into the river.

At first it didn’t seem like much. It was cold, I remember that. And the stones hurt our feet but as soon as they were numb the water felt good. We got half-way pretty quick but then we realised how big the river was & the other side was much deeper than we had expected & we struggled to work over to the other bank. But we eventually made it & then put our clothes on, feeling the world of course, because we had just forded the mighty Dyfi and it was an Indian Summer. AN INDIAN SUMMER. & the Dfyi was mighty and we crossed it, & then we found a path and got the train.

It reminds me too of the flat that Nem Nem and I first lived in when we got married. It had this big open plan lounge/dinner/kitchen & the length of the wall had some good windows & the whole thing faced south & I remember trying to write my MA & struggling so — for inspiration — just watching Jean-Luc Goddard in the morning & then in the afternoon, when the sun came in & the room got really really hot, either hanging clothes or moving the sofa back & doing weights or something like that, & the whole room felt fantastic.

August 20, 2013

Situating Race

Critics coming from/fighting for a marginalized culture find support in Po-Structuralist theories of hybridity/difference/ambivalence.


pattern African.US-Latino-Chicano-Native.US-Asian.US ::: is the rise of whiteness reactionary?

December 14, 2011

Pinter Posse Strikes Back (when you least expect it)

I’m NOT even joking. I was sitting there in the Prof’s Office yesterday afternoon. A little drab outside. A little drab inside too. Still, it’s a privilege I pay for. Then we read an excerpt [from the new novel of course] and I’m NOT even JOKING but the first thing the Prof said was, ‘I would say this piece is quite Pinteresque.’

I’m NOT even joking.

Links, Lynx, Linkz

Original Pinter Posse

Meeting Two

Pinter and Chips

December 5, 2011

The Fragmentary Mode in Poetry

Rob Mengham describes it as 

A vanishing point beyond the conventional horizon of poetry

Or, as I can understand it, a segregation of narrative meaning from the poetic line.

This makes Fragmentary poetry – or New Modernist poetry – something of a more readerly poetry.

Every word or phrase or line or sentence must be understood to the best of the reader’s ability before he can move on.

As a result, the poetic line only has meaning in itself.

Which creates a chaotic poetry that is obsessed with obtaining meaning irrationally. 



September 1, 2011

Are You Sitting Comfortably? – Then I’ll Begin.

These words from Salman Rushdie in his novel Shame seem apt in light of the Arab Spring:

How does a dictator fall? There is an old saw which states, with absurd optimism, that it is in the nature of tyrannies to end. One might as well say that it is also in their nature to begin, to continue, to dig themselves in, and, often, to be preserved by greater powers than their own.

Well, well, I mustn’t forget I’m only telling a fairy-story. My dictator will be toppled by goblinish, faery means. ‘Makes it pretty easy for you,’ is the obvious criticism; and I agree, I agree. But add, even if it does sound a little peevish: ‘ You try and get rid of a dictator sometime.’

A fairy story? Seems to hit the right note when you consider that even with an organised Rebel uprising and NATO air support it took months to oust Colonel Gaddafi.

And Syria? Consider Rushdie’s words: ‘to be preserved by greater powers than their own.’ Makes you wonder if Syrians would be looking at a very different future right now if  the UN or NATO or America or Europe or Russia or Israel had chosen to step in as some did in Libya.

Meanwhile, the Saudi regime finds it easier to head off unrest by announcing social and economic reforms totalling $100 bn. Indeed, this might sound a little peevish too, but, I guess, it’s easy if you have the money

August 5, 2011


The LightBox section of TIME Magazine is always worth a look, I think.

Here’s this weeks Closeup.

The photographs capture more than a newsreel. There isn’t such a distance creating by the lens. What I mean is, a still photograph has a much stronger and personal effect.

When you see the fear in the face of the Rebel Fighter in Libya or the serenity and jaded beauty of the memorial in Norway or the serious face of the murder suspect standing a foot away from the police officer you can’t help but feel that these are real lives being affected by real situations.