Thursday, December 29, 2005

Return From the Back of Beyond.

I got home yesterday following my Christmas familial odyssey. It's strange, though I've been away for just a few days I couldn't wait to get back. I suppose a lot of it is because my parents are divorced and both live in houses which I spent no time growing up in. Thus neither of them feel like home. At Christmas I tend to get nostalgic for the (probably imagined) "family Christmas" which just doesn't happen in my family anymore and I also have the desire to spend Christmas in my home. That of course doesn't work for the rellies, so commuting Christmas it was again.

Next year I am going to pray no-one gets me books or booze as I nearly pulled my arms out of their sockets carrying my bag o' schwag home from the rural hinterlands that my folks live in, and that is after I had carefully selected small and light presents to give to the folks. It is not for nothing that I got my sister magazine subscriptions - I am not, as it may appear, as stupid as I look.

I think for the next few days I shall do some work on the short film idea I have been playing about with, with luck and a good head wind it could be done by February. I have decided (though not in a New Year's Resoluion way) to try do more creative work of my own again. It's been a long time since I made anything for me and since I am single again, now would be the time to do it. Fire up the new fancy lapdog and let's see what she's made of... Full steam ahead.

Friday, December 23, 2005

You don't see this every day...

I went for a wander today to celebrate the start of my holidays and decided to take a stroll up One Tree Hill from the top of which you can get a stunning panoramic view of the city. On the way I walked through Peckham Rye, an area of parkland where William Blake saw his first vision in 1769. He saw angels in the trees. I didn't, but I did spy something almost as good. The unprepossessing semi pictured above has a rather interesting history. The Blue Plaque on the front shows that Frankenstein's Monster himself was born here...

Who'd have thought that? He seems a bit less scary now...

A Christmas Carol

Penguin Books has, for the last week or so, been podcasting a reading by Geoffrey Palmer of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". I admit to being a complete softy and overly romantic but on Thursday as I sat at work finishing a lame piece of coding before the holidays I found myself welling up over the "...and Tiny Tim, who did not die..." ending and I wondrered why. Certainly I've read the book a few times and though I love it dearly it had never had this effect upon me before. Perhaps there is a certain type of story, like myths and legends, which cry out to be read aloud, as a more social experience than the solitary act of reading? "A Christmas Carol" is unquestionably such a powerful part of the festive period that it is hard to believe that until 1843 it did not exist. Rather like the ancient myths and legends it seems to been here since before time began. Then again, it could be the childlike and episodic qualities of the story that call out for a reading rather than for us to read. I have always loved the Greek myths and the most profound impact that they ever had was when Tony Robinson read/acted them out on BBC TV's "Jackanory" series of children's programmes. Of course, now I know that that is how they were intended to be experienced, even Homer was written to be performed, and came from the oral tradition - it is so much more powerful to hear the flow of the language and the rhythm carry the listener to this new world, either of the Hellenes or Victorian London. By having the story read aloud to us it provides a part of our imagination freer rein to experience the narrative and to bypass the analytical parts of the brain that have to be invoked to decipher the squiggles on a page into meaning. Many of the better books I have read that work best when read directly are more cerebral in nature, not so simply emotionally charged. Perhaps that's it, the simple, emotional directness of the spoken word communicates these types of story more clearly?

Well, gentle reader, have a peaceful holiday with you and yours and as Tiny Tim said, "God bless us every one".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm pretty sure it was journalist Keith Waterhouse who said that there were only two drinks worth pairing with fish and chips. The first was hot, sweet tea. I shall exercise selective hearing and say that hot tea is indeed a perfect accompaniment especially after a day out and about back at home preferably with "Final Score" on the TV. Indeed that set of circumstances has the ability to raise the happy punter to a heightened level of consciousness that devout Buddhists can only dream of.

Anyway back to the point in hand, the other drink Waterhouse mentioned was champagne, and last night The Doddlings and myself gave it a try. Happy to report that the experiment was a complete success. I was initially a little sceptical, but the champagne cuts through the lipidic nature of the batter and chip fat whilst retaining its distinct flavour. Absolutely worth trying, though I still think I'd prefer hot tea after a days exertion. I shall be saving champagne and fish and chips for those special bohemian moments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Welcome, dear reader, to my blog. It won't all be interesting, much of it may not be lucid, but I guarantee it'll be varied. Beyond that, caveat emptor. "Now", as Vivian Stanshall once said, "read on dot dot dot".