Sunday, January 30, 2011

who'd have thought? tangled kisses better the disappointment left by the black swan

so i'm the biggest angriest feminist-sledgehammer wielding bitch in the universe when it comes to cinema, we all know this by now. but i will be the first to raise my hands and lower my head when it comes to disney. i went through my under-grad 'i'm going to write angry essays about patriarchal depictions in disney fairytales' phase, and got over it pretty swiftly too.
so i drag my manly half along to the cinema to see disney's newest addition to the princessy cannon, and what is actually their 50th animated feature (impressive wha), which is of course, tangled. yeah yeah, starring mandy moore, i know, get it out of the way. it's grand, just pretend it's not her yeah? yeah
so, i was absolutely pacified by the whole thing. lovely. just sheer disney fluff: looks utterly gorgeous, excellent physics in it, really funny too but not in that shrek pop-culture reference way (someone else said that on the internet somewhere and it was the first thing i noticed as true: the humour is classic and not time-specific). the little chameleon, pascal, rocks my world entirely. here he is

check him out, pretending to be a flower, the little squish. i mean there are obviously going to be gender issues with the film: but rapunzel is actually a bit of a bad-ass, and is quite brave for someone who is essentially a shut in. it's an adventure story which grows into a love story, but not over-bearingly so. there are so many fun action sequences that i wasn't really that pushed on the burgeoning romance.
HOWEVER. the songs?  ....just didn't gel with me. did not fit in. i mean, they were good, and seriously funny in some instances, but i just don't know if disney should keep beating the musical horse so hard. the songs are just unmemorable these days compared to the ones in the classics. i'm not going to nerd out too bad, but really, i think i'd have just left the songs out.

also, the insane mother-figure was really great. i love evil-stepmothers. i learned all about their function during writing my thesis last year and since then i'm like, hell yeah, they're necessary, they're there for a reason, they're helping children deal with inner resentment towards their mothers.

my main reason for not getting feminist angry at tangled was that yeah sure, the protagonist offers more than her freedom to save her lovely thief boy in the end, in fact she offers to go along without even a fight and continue supplementing the immortality of her evil stepmammy, like she really is giving a lot up for him etc etc (i'd like to think that was just a ruse to be allowed the opportunity to save him - check out how spoiler free this review is) BUT. i think it was more about the spirit of adventure, freedom, and growing up than it was about love. i don't know. it just didn't piss me off the same way that other films that put women in a position where they sacrifice everything for love did. there was something in it that was so utterly harmless, so completely 'lets just come along for the ride and isn't the iguana cute' about it, that i couldn't get angry. perhaps it soothed me where i'd been let down by the black swan, maybe a part of it reminded me that even after a degree laced with film and social critical theory, i can still just go to the fucking cinema, have a little laugh, have a little cry, and look at some pretty damn pictures. it reminded me i can switch off the inner critic and have a good time. give my brain a big disney lollipop and make me forget everything. yes please. i mean, not every day or anything, i like being stimulated and challenged and all, but sometimes, you just need to not think during a film. be....entertained (remember that?)

but in saying that, maybe there's something wrong with me and i should go back and read the mad woman in the attic again.

my next blog post, which i will whack up tomorrow, will chronicle my birthday weekend and an especially interesting saturday night when me, the man, and 4 of our friends (none of whom previously knew eachother) all sat in and got drunk and made a 'guide to men' for a newly single mutual friend of ours. it's a list of 75 rules of single life. i was too drunk to be feminist and they're too funny to be kept in a drawer forever so i have to share them with the world. hold on to your seats and get ready to be horrified but yet, somehow, enlightened

bang bang


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

i'm not saying the black swan was a bad film.....BUT

seriously i've never been beaten harder over the head by metaphors in my life. psychological drama for dummies. i went along, literally, excited to go to the cinema for the first time in a really long time (i have not been to a cinema since inception which is a whole other issue) and especially excited to go and see a mad mental story about natalie portman being a ballerina. now one of my lifelong best friends is an ex-ballerina, so this was especially fascinating to me. and i totally dig natalie portman most of the time too (moreso since seeing leon, which was sheer brilliance). so let's be clear, i did not go in with a big cinema-studies head on me thinking i was better than mainstream cinema: i was really, really excited.
my lovely blonder half lisa decided she would take me as a birthday date, as such, so we got loads of sweets and settled ourselves down for what we hoped was going to be an absolute brainmelt of a film. lots of psychological trauma, just the way i like it.
now there was psychological trauma. and some really gorgeous sets, particularly the staging of the ballet itself and the creepy child bedroom that nina lives in, and natalie portman not saying much but generally looking really worried and distraught, which was really convincing, i totally bought it. if you run into me at any time in the next few days ask me to do my 'worried natalie portman' face. it's mostly forehead. i mean she was good, i guess it was the misfortunate character she was playing really.

so, messing aside, it was kinda dull.
bar the couple of freako-moments with the fingernails and all (i have a bit of a phobia of loose fingernails) and the jumpy bits, it was really very normal. and mila kuniz? right fair enough, she's a total babe, but... she was just kind of playing a normal person. just a bit of a party girl, who happened to be a real good dancer. nothing special. so the fuss about her being AWESOME that i keep hearing? not buying it.
it was like paint by numbers psychological drama. i mean the fucking director of the ballet walks into  the audition and tells you exactly whats going to happen at the beginning. oohho, you think he's just telling you the story of swan lake, but no, how clever, he's actually telling you the story of the film!! wow! i found that from that point on it was just basic metaphor after basic metaphor: it's about a girl who is ocd, anorexic, repressed and struggling with her sexuality. and you're smacked with symbols of this scene after scene after scene. really didn't need the pushy-dance-mam living vicariously through her daughter. really. too much, too much.

there's this moment at the climax of the movie where she's finally dancing the part of the black swan (fiiiiiinally) and her arms turn into wings and become swan wings: at this point it all got too much. oooh she's embraced the darkness in herself so she literally is a black swan! literally! i get metaphors i understand things

so, while my brain and eyes payed attention and appreciated a lot of the visual stuff, my fear sensors were not being alarmed. my heartstrings were not being pulled. i did not connect with a single one of them. maybe i just expected another requiem for a dream, maybe i just wanted to be scared and upset by it so much that i'd prepared myself for something much worse. maybe everyone talked about it so much that my expectations were unreasonably high and i was never going to enjoy it.

just thought i'd tell you. because it wasn't even a TERRIBLE MOVIE that you can walk around laughing about. i'd prefer to be taken to that depth than just left untouched.
you tried hard black swan, but i'm nursing a bruised jaw from being hit so hard with your very obvious plot devices.

approx 5/10. i mean go and see it if you haven't, ignore me like, i don't know anything. i just found it kind of... dull...
i have decided that 'underwhelming' is my word for this film. underwhelming and slightly annoying
EDIT 2: also, how cool is this poster?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

i have this, complicated relationship with IKEA

no, really.
i've noticed, upon looking back over a lot of my work recently, that it's a kind of theme in a lot of what i do. like not in a bad way or anything, it just seems to keep cropping up in my poetry. everything that i use in the poems is from ikea. bedsheets, scissors, you name it. i mean i used to love ikea and find it really exciting and want to play hide and seek and turn everything upside down and hide things but not so much these days. i think i'm a little bit scared of it.
i was there yesterday with the manlier half and his folks having a poke around and trying to basically make this apartment functional. we were there for around 5 hours. that's like, a whole day. a whole long day with no sunlight because ikea has no windows because it doesn't want you to look outside ever, only at furniture, ever. and the sauce they put on the pasta is the same colour as some of the faux-leather couches (that's luminous orange for those of you who don't know) and i think i'm a little too jamie oliver-ed out of it to feel comfortable with that.
i never even noticed before now, i mean not only am i a seasoned ikea goer, i am also a big  fan of interesting homewear, so i kind of get kicks on many levels out of ikea. but like, yesterday was on an entirely different level, it switched on a different switch in my brain, and i think i'm starting to understand why i'm so obsessed with using the place in my work.

it's like i feel like nothing i'll ever buy there will mean anything. it's like it defeats fetishization (is that how you spell that?) but like, defines it all at once. i want to buy the things to make my house work properly, but i don't want to keep them forever or admire them.
as i type he is in the kitchen having a battle of the species with a set of silver 'billy' bookshelves. they didn't have any blue ones left in the warehouse, devastation. they look like lego shelves in primary colours. the swedes also invented lego. and absolut. and h&m. clever clever nation.
he just made a 'wooo' noise and this means the battle is won.

i just don't know what i'm trying to tell you about ikea but i will finish this poem and then maybe i'll understand but i think it is important that you know that ikea is a strange place.

  billy shelves 0 - ceri 1

and mankind wins against semi-disposable swedish furniture 

Friday, January 21, 2011

serious inconveniences, sleep and business cards

i'm not going to lie to you but last night was probably the most rock and roll i've been in quite a while. i am currently suffering from what is commonly known as a hangover, but in my case i will call it a SERIOUS INCONVENIENCE because i have to be in the university at half twelve to sit through twelve callbacks for Sleep Skips My Heart (the play formerly known as Narcolepsy) and i'll tell you something, when i left, the party wasn't even winding down

i dreamed the world was counting down to an end and it was my birthday and in Eyre square there were tents like the christmas market but empty, and people were standing in it executing one another, having shaved their heads bald in protest against this strange apocalypse. i was with lisa and she was wearing her fur coat and i have no idea where she is this morning because she is not in her bed right now. it was a frightening dream because it was going to happen at 8 o clock and it just kept ticking and ticking and so many people believed it was ending that they just killed themselves first. what would happen if the world didn't end, and all these lives lost in tents like a christmas market in eyre square and i was there to see them lost. there were popcorn vendors too as if, it was like a spectacle.
and i woke up with this hangover and the taste of smokes in my mouth because i apparently forget that i'm quitting when i drink and this huge sense of dread about turning 23, as if it's some big deal, when it actually is really kind of dull.

so here's what i actually am posting for.
over the edge was utterly brilliant to read at, i'm still so happy they invited me, especially to their eighth birthday. naturally i brought the wrong bundle of papers with me, as i am inclined to do, so i ended up reading an entirely different set than i intended but i think i got away with it. i got handed some business cards that i am slightly excited about. i feel very adult and wish i had a business card.

and also, here is a link to the podcast where i was on da radio for anyone who missed it and wants to hear. i sound completely unlike myself but that's ok: picture me in the famous five or the secret seven, then you'll let me away with it for sure!

It's archived 3 or 4 links down and has my name on it! Ohmygoodness

right i have to surgically remove myself from this bed and brush my teeth and go to college and be a mature playwright with a huge cup of cheap coffee and a scowly face


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

holy identity change batman

this has been some week for one week and it's only half over. my left eye is throbbing at the moment just to punish me for over-exerting myself. i also got sleep paralysis on the bus up from galway at 7am on tuesday morning, i think i might write something about it because it was legitimately the strangest thing that's ever happened to me. as i stated on my facebook shortly afterwards, i think it could be the universe punishing me for writing plays which fictionalise sleeping disorders and use them as plot devices.... (the callbacks for Sleep Skips my Heart, formerly known as Narcolepsy, are on Friday morning, ohhh things are getting so serious)

so, here's the story. on monday, which apparently is called 'blue monday' because it's the most depressing day of the year, i was in rte radio recording a little chat and some poems with sean rocks for arena. depressing? eh no, clearly not, blue monday nothing.
the interview goes out tonight. i am literally, sick in my stomach with terror so should you choose to tune in, please have mercy, it was my first time, go gentle on me! but it was a really terrific experience, while i was reading my poems i felt all that terror leave me and i warmed right up. i would have imagined i'd feel better having a waffle about what i do than i would reading some pretty personal poems, but no, i felt much better just sinking back into performance mode and letting my work speak for itself. maybe that kind of thing changes with experience, which with a little bit of luck, i might get a little bit more of. i'll whip up a link to it here after it goes live!

pretty much one taxi and two jack daniels' after my visit to rte i found myself at my beloved glor sessions, run by stephen james smyth. it was a lovely night, the same homey environment and interested audience as there always is. it was broadcast live online aswell, which was pretty savage. i really love how the internet is bringing little grassroots events out into the digital stratosphere. the internet really amazes me on a lot of levels, i should probably get over it but sometimes i'm just awestruck. i seriously am in love with the glor sessions sometimes. so i did some poems, listened to some poems and awesome music, ended up smoking half a box of fags, and dragged my sorry and exhausted body back to the new apartment, which i think really deserves an interesting name...hmmm

tuesday passed, mental, facilitated all the stuff at the poetry slam in the galway arts centre which was as always, so exciting and inspiring. i always feel great leaving afterwards, and because i'm interning there i get a different experience all together which mostly involves carrying chairs up and down the stairs with the lovely receptionist. so this time i felt great, but also seriously exhausted, after a very mental couple of days.

tomorrow night i'm reading at over the edge in the galway city library. going to reveal some of my horrific flash fiction collection there as well as read a few poems. i keep seeing my name on this poster all around town, it's a little daunting!

IN OTHER NEWS i dyed my hair this morning THUS changed my identity. there one was a time when dying my hair was the most exciting part of my week and it wasn't that long ago, i tell you that much.

personally i'm looking forward to spending all of saturday in ikea with the manlier half buying functional and stylish semi-disposable swedish furniture then trying to assemble flat-packs when we get home. probably going to finish that bottle of jack daniels in the process

party on wayne


Saturday, January 15, 2011

incredible discovery

i mean it's not something adults really ask eachother, is it. what's your favourite bar of chocolate? i don't remember the last time someone asked me that, so, to set the record straight, i'm going to tell you what i discovered today on the bus between galway and dublin.
i discovered this.

the galaxy ripple. i've been a long-term galaxy fan myself, but this for me, is definitively my favourite kind of bar of chocolate.
it's a bit like the very inconvenient yet enjoyable cadbury's flake, only NOT MESSY because all the mad ripply bits are contained in a chocolate coating.
galaxy bars are for me, always a little intense, chocolate wise, but this is like maybe, 70% chocolate 30% air ratio so like when you're not mad starving or whatever, it's spot on, it's not like, too much, y'know? bang on in the middle, not some sort of epic journey like a moro or a marsbar (i won't get into the yorkie not being for girls argument here either, it just doesn't taste as nice as other bars, fact)
and ripple is a deadly sounding word. kind of onomatopoeic. rhymes with nipple. winner

in other news, today i received an e-mail notifying me i'd been accepted for inclusion in Wired Ruby literary zine, so i'm absolutely thrilled, the poem i submitted was written the day after i went a bit mad and cut off all my hair, and it's about that journey that you kind of go on as a young woman and defining yourself by your hair, yet eventually getting up the courage to chop it all off because really, it doesn't mean anything if you're happy.

i'm back in dublin for the weekend and will tonight be staying in the new apartment of my lovely manfriend, which is on the same street i was born on, which i think is pretty amazing. it's the nearest i'll have been to that place since the day i was born aswell, which is just two weeks under 23 years ago.

also, for the record, scott pilgrim (which i had the sheer pleasure of seeing last night in the college, thanks to comic and english soc, whilst quietly necking a bottle of wine with lisa keegan) excelled on so many levels it deserves a blog post of it's own.

be well now

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

if only this apple juice wasn't 36% sugar

well i'm still not willing to argue that IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE HEALTHY with the lidl people so i guess i can't really complain.

today i started interning and got to see the Cuirt offices, which are warm and cozy in the attic of the Galway Arts Centre. i think you should know, i get a workspace. that means a desk (i'm sure it's only semi-permanent but for now i feel kind of important and excited). being briefed on what i'm going to do was lots of fun, we had people visit us and all and me and the arts officer had some good banter. i'm getting a feeling this is going to be a really interesting few months. we're both reading at Over the Edge next week on the 20th. going to be savage.

i also got a really exciting phonecall today from a lovely lady in RTE who asked me to come and read some of my poems for Arena on monday. i was literally like, jaw open delight face walking around the college like. i knew my poetry had been forwarded to her post-nighthawks, but didn't imagine anything would come of it but there you go! i'll post more about it nearer the time so you can tune in and have a little listen to me putting on a very respectable rte voice and reading some weird stuff out. i expect everyone to say a prayer that they decide to give me a permanent job there as a weather girl

aside from this we're having the first reading of narcolepsy in my lovely apartment tomorrow night. going to take lots of pictures and like, hope to god it doesn't sound awful when it's off the page. news news news jesus, 2011 doesn't start off slow at all does it?

now tenner bets nothings going to happen at all for the next 11 months, i've used up all my joy credits in the first two weeks

speaking of joy, as noted previously on facebook, but i feel needs to be re-iterated here, despite the absolute hammering of rain outside which i now must venture into to find out what grade i got in my poetry elective last semester (eep...), this video portrays how absolutely deadly i feel right now:

be well

Sunday, January 9, 2011

kiss me sunday

what's that you say? 5pm and still in my pyjamas? oh yes thank you i do believe i will

because today is the last day before the mayhem of semester two commences. not only semester two, but my internship with the Cuirt International Festival of Literature and the preparation for the second life of Narcolepsy, my lovely play, which will be taking place in February in the black box of NUIG. 

buses never come in ones they come in sixes and there's no escaping them then but for now i'll just chill it here under the shelter and watch Misfits on 4od (heavy handed script but...still, I'm watching)

4od is an absolutely terrific idea, for the record, except that the majority of the documentaries are pretty rubbish so i get halfway through and
step up your game, television

last night at Nighthawks was absolutely gorgeous. sat in the middle of the room which is, as always, beautifully lit, and drank gin, and listened to the gorgeous music of the Alex Mathias band (who i really want to make friends with when they play galway in march) and Elder Roche who i literally never, ever get tired of listening to. the comedy was really terrific aswell, considering i'm not usually that easily amused (no, really). conor o'toole was awesome, as was damo clarke and ed sammo, i was literally laughing out loud and not really able to stop for a lot of the night. total shocker - i'm normally one of these awful hard-hearted bitches who doesn't even do a sympathy giggle. i bring my crochet to gigs for christ's sake, so in case of a cringe-emergency i have something to look at (i also make lovely blankets, but more on that another day).
and as for getting to do my poems... well they listened. and laughed at times. and didn't lynch me when i read my city poem about dublin being a bastard. so i feel very nice about it. like what i do is worth something.

when i go home to galway i'll finish reading Douglas Coupland's Life After God (which is why I go out with my boyfriend: he recommends excellent books) and then i'll do a little review of it. because it's time to get into good habits, being january. now if only i could learn how to read books that are released at the moment and review them, then maybe, just maybe, i might be on to something

also, for the record i'm still taking a photo a day. might scan some soon, wouldn't that be THRILLING

and also, i am still listening to God Help the Girl, because they're terrific


Friday, January 7, 2011

delight city: ohfrancis

so i walk into 9 crow street to look at some clothes and have a chat at the counter and what do i see with my eyes? what do i see?

ohfrancis, the news sheet edition.  looks terrific, flick it open and i clearly had forgotten that my angry little cigarette piece which was illustrated specifically for the magazine was going to be included. nearly died of excitement. lately anything i've been linked to print has been Scarleh Fer Yer Ma  related and written by someone else, but this time it was something i made up all by myself.

the piece is part one of a trilogy called 'THREE BLINDINGS IN THREE KITCHENS' which is basically another attempt at procrastinating writing anything of volume. three blindings in three kitchens are three pretty gross little snaps of fiction under 500 words about...well, it's in the title isn't it. i've just finished the second, which deals with a lass who gets her eye stung out by a bumblebee for lusting after it's furry coat.
interesting fact i found out while writing this one: honey bees can only sting once, then they die. bumblebees... they can come back at you for more. true story.

so yes, ohfrancis is free, so if you spot it, pick it up and give it a read, there's loads of interesting things inside. (and me) (so proud)

also have a terrific gig at Nighthawks at the Cobalt on saturday night, absolutely humming with excitement and terror, might debut some blindings in some kitchens to give the audience a bit of a shock. doing 12 glorious minutes of poems and other follies and will write all about it when it's past me. excitement city

so this is all, for the moment

be well