Elena Ferrante and the Expert Use of Abruptness

I recall him as short and broad, but handsome, with a proud face. One night he came out of the house as usual and died . . . The funeral was very bitter . . .

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

Jubilant: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 20 May 2016

  • Jubilant, adjective: showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant

This 40th Anniversary Calyx anthology, published April 2016 by Ooligan Press, is everything:

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A sunny day in Dublin is always cause for celebration:

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April 2016:  Bed and Breakfast, Inchicore, Dublin

Last but not least: On self’s first day back in London in 2016 (early April), she met up with poet Joan McGavin, who took her to the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Self is always jubilant to be back in London:

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The Most Beautiful Window: Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Self is at her best when she is traveling. Her state of mind when traveling can best be described as jubilant.

If you try to stop her from traveling, she will be in a bad mood.

Not only that, she will hate you forever.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lunch: Chéz Mamie

They’re doing massive construction work on Hanway Street: a tall building’s going up. Self asked what that building was going to be and was told: an expanded Primark and luxury condos.

Oh gosh. That means Hanway Place will be awash in posh types. How’s that going to change Chez Mamie? Self probably won’t be able to get a seat there any longer! It’s such a wee restaurant! Maybe because of the noise of construction, the place was rather empty. Self loves their salads, though. Absolutely loves them.

And, just like that, self got the idea for a story and started scribbling like mad into her notebook:

Maxine had impressed her parents into gift-ing her a trip to London by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” Maxine told her mother Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sylvain Landry – Week 45: BIRDS

Self has skipped a few weeks of the Sylvain Landry Photo prompts, mostly because, since leaving the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, she’s been doing much traveling. She went to Cork, then Dublin, then back to Cork, then to Wexford, then back to Dublin, then to London.

Now, in London, she’s had a couple of days to restore her energy. She finished reading Anjelica Huston’s memoir, Watch Me, in six days. Which is something of a record (Last year, she thinks she read a total of six books. Time was, she used to blaze through an average of 60, per year).

She started E. L. James’s Grey and decided that, alas, this novel was not for her.

She started Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. That title alone is in itself brilliant. Whenever one titles a book, it should have something positive in the title. Like: My Brilliant Islands. Or My Brilliant Dreams. Or Beautiful Dreamer. Or something along those lines.

This week’s Sylvain Landry prompt is BIRDS.

And self has to go back to her pictures of Tyrone Guthrie Centre to find a bird picture. Here it is:

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From Window of Unit # 1 of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, April 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Monday: London Review Bookshop Monthly Film Screening

The London Review Bookshop is showing a Sally Potter film tonight: “Yes.”

That’s the one where all the characters speak in iambic pentameter (And, rhyme!)

“How long is the film?” self asked the salesperson (Who is the same salesperson who was there last year, and the year before, and who turns out to be a poet. His first collection just came out!)

“100 minutes,” he said, smartly.

Okay, self got a ticket. Considering this bookshop was where she got to shake hands with Sally Potter in person, in 2014, it seems like fate or magic. If you believe in either of those things. And she was there again last night, along with her cinematographer, the same one who worked on Orlando, and self was fan-girling like mad.

Stay tuned.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” Has One Bona-Fide Break-Out Performance

“X-Men: Apocalypse” has produced a break-out star.

And it’s Evan Peters.

Seriously?

Seriously.

Here he is in “American Horror Story,” doing the Banana Fana song (Official Title: “The Name Game”) with Jessica Lange. He is never not enjoyable to watch.

And he is the ONLY reason self would ever contemplate seeing an X-Men movie. Heck, she might be back in the Odeon tonight. Who knows?

Stay tuned.

 

“X-Men: Apocalypse” at Odeon, Covent Garden

Self spent three hours in the British Museum, then walked to Shaftesbury. It was a beautiful Sunday in London. Crowds were out walking, and tourists were arriving (How did self know they were tourists? Because they were pulling their suitcases along behind them)

The Odeon is quite a nice cinema, with very plush seats. Self was hoping to see “Captain America: Civil War” (Notice how all these superhero titles have colons now? Like book subtitles?) but on learning that the next show wasn’t until two hours later, and “X-Men: Apocalypse” was on in 10 minutes, she opted for “X-Men.” Besides, self will never not enjoy a J-Law movie. The girl is simply a hoot.

It’s a very long movie. At first, self went all gooey-eyed over James McAvoy rocking a thin top under a tweed jacket, plus 70s long hair. Not even the materialization of Nicholas Hoult in glasses could detract from the utter, utter  fabulousness of James McAvoy (Later, he appears in a lavender t-shirt. Which is sort of a shock because: Would Charles Xavier really be caught dead wearing a lavender t-shirt underneath a tweed jacket but anyhoo)

The movie has Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique iteration appearing in posters all over the world, like she’s some kind of rock star. Which is amusing.

Michael Fassbender is always very intense. Nothing new there. He sings, too, if dear blog readers want to know (For heaven’s sake, self felt like saying, as soon as he broke into song: it’s just a lullabye to your daughter, why are you singing like you’re at an audition? Perfectly in tune. Even, loud. Self finds Fassbender so annoying: he’s so good and yet he has to keep reminding you of it. He never — at least in self’s humble opinion — disappears completely into a role. Self is always aware, watching him, that she is watching a Fassbender performance)

But self only realized after Evan Peters appeared, more than halfway through the movie, that he was going to save it. The best scene in the last X-Men movie was his. And when he finally makes his appearance in this one, self actually laughed out loud, so great was her joy at seeing him again.

You know how you know you’re watching a movie in a British (as opposed to an American) cinema? Self watched the last “X-Men” (Days of Future Past) movie in an American cine-plex, and the audience was in stitches over Evan Peters. This time, she belatedly realized, after she was doubled up and chuckling, that she was the only one laughing. In the entire theatre. Everyone else was still as stone. Graven, if you will.

What? How could one not enjoy the leather pants, the sass, the playing of Mrs. Pac-Man, the whole Dude Affect? He’s got that role nailed to a T. Not even J-Law comes close in capturing the antic spirit, the rebelliousness, that made teen-agers the world over embrace the X-Men comic book series.

Here, for those who might have missed it, a link to Evan Peters as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

By now, self finds the thwarted, twisted love between Magneto and Mystique so repetitive and — just get over it already, you two! Either hook up or stop making goo-goo eyes at each other!

In the end, self always knew Magneto would turn. He always threatens to go bad, and then he turns. There is just nothing new in this universe anymore.

But please, more of Evan Peters?

Self loves that when Quicksilver (who is actually Magneto’s son) is asked by Magneto what he is fighting for, he doesn’t say something corny like, “I’m your son!” There’s this moment of hesitation. You can actually see Quicksilver tempted to say it. But he doesn’t. He saves it for another day. Instead, he simply says, “I’m fighting for my family, too.”

Yes! That’s a sure sign that the filmmakers are planning to make something of this relationship in a future “X-Men” movie. Self expects Michael Fassbender will milk his new role as Quicksilver’s father to maximum dramatic effect, but  it’s not him self is looking forward to watching, it’s Evan Peters.

And oh yes, Sansa  Stark saves the daaaaaay! Self was so happy that Sansa gets to kick ass, finally! After all the torments she’s had to endure in Game of Thrones!

The bad guy is played by Oscar Isaac. God, what a waste of a face! He is completely unrecognizable; he could be Darth Vader, for all we know.

Stay tuned.

“Captain America: Civil War” Review by Noel Vera

The guy doesn’t know she exists but she’s been linking to him for ages.

Self really likes Critic After Dark’s reviews. He is Filipino, BTW. Like self.

Presently, Trump is in America and self is in London and it is Sunday. What does self think of doing? She thinks of wandering to a movie theatre on Tottenham Court Road and watching “Captain America: Civil War.” (Self! All those museums await! The Tate Modern, The Imperial War Museum, The Wallace Collection! Nevertheless, if a movie is what she wants, a movie she will get)

This is a summer movie if she ever saw one. Summer movies and self are like white on rice.

The Critic After Dark review:

Calling brothers Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War the best superhero movie to date is, I feel, a bit much. It limps along more nimbly than the rest of Marvel’s profit-animated undead, is a huge improvement over such joyless efforts as the Thor or Wolverine movies, is a quantum leap in quality over Snyder’s multimillion-dollar super-powered cow flop — but saying all that is like saying you didn’t feel like flinging your 32-oz. soda at the screen and bashing your head repeatedly on the theatre’s concrete floor; we’re talking extremely low bar here.

Another thing self might do is stalk Miss Honeywell.

Miss Honeywell is a brave Everlark fan fic writer (author of, among other delights, First We Feast, in which Katniss’s car breaks down in an isolated rural area, she gets picked up by tow truck drivet Peeta, and after multiple side-eyes, he kidnaps her and brings her to a creepy forest where — DUN DUN DUN)

Anyhoo, self is pretty sure Miss Honeywell is English. She says “petrol station” instead of gasoline station, and she says stuff like “Hang on” instead of “Just a minute.” Self is sure these are convincing arguments for believing Miss Honeywell is English.

She is English, therefore she must live in London. See the syllogism? See self’s absolutely marvelous powers of deduction?

There is nothing more self would love than to meet Miss Honeywell in person. But just thinking of stalking her is giving self a headache. She could also sit in bed and do nothing. All day. Pretend she’s on vacation. Walk to the British Museum, endure another long line, go for the chocolate chip cookies in the main lobby. London is sooooo full of choices!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anjelica Huston: Venice Beach

Well, self will be sad to finish this book. She started reading it in Cork, continued reading it in Wexford, continued reading it in Dublin, and now has been reading it in London. She didn’t start with high hopes, especially since there’s a cringe-inducing love/hate thing going on with Jack Nicholson. But Huston shines when she describes a place. And she’s been to some pretty fabulous ones.

Here she describes the view from her house in Venice Beach:

On the top story was a little parapet from which one could see the whole of Venice Beach — from the flags of the many nations on the roof of the youth hostel next door, above a faded sepia mural, to the Townhouse bar across the street, the tattoo parlor, Animal House, the hippies and the homeless, the vendors, the performance artists, the swami with his turban and electric guitar on Rollerblades, the runaways, the snake-charmer, the rappers, the chalk and sand artists, the weight lifters, the addicts, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the tourists and the surfers, the skateboard kids, the guy who played “Eye of the Tiger” relentlessly and did crazy stuff with a chainsaw for eight years.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Anjelica Huston in Oaxaca

After the awfulness that was Jack Nicholson’s baby-drama, Huston marries sculptor Bob Graham and has a wedding to die for. Sweet! The honeymoon is in Oaxaca. Among many romantic memories, Huston shares this:

We went to an outdoor restaurant by a lake that served red ants and iguana, which tasted reptilian.

We visited Monte Alban in the scorching sun, thirteen hundred feet above the valley floor of Oaxaca, built in 500 B.C. by the Zapotec Indians, who actually practiced dentistry, as evidenced by some impressive stone carvings of primitive warriors having their teeth extracted.

LOL!

There’s that trademark Huston poker-face (wink wink)

Stay tuned.

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