oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

I think I am in a probably relatively justifiable slump period following last year and the endless treadmill of papers to write and give, articles/chapters to write/revise, trains and boats and planes, etc.

Unfortunately I am giving a paper in a fortnight's time and it's a new paper.

Well, when I say it's a new paper, it's I think going to turn out to be a remix of stuff I've already talked about with a different theoretical angle and with a few bits and bobs from the research files that I haven't used before.

(Yes, I have been having my arm twisted to give a paper to this particular seminar series for over 2 years...)

But, whatever, I am finding it really difficult to motivate myself to sit down and do the necessary cutting and pasting, editing, rewriting, etc.



Jan. 25th, 2015 09:15 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

On Friday, as I decided not to go to the gym in the wake of an hour-long dental appointment, I made Gujerati Khichchari for supper (which had the advantage of being a nice soft thing to eat).

Saturday breakfast rolls: I made the Tassajarra recipe but instead of cinnamon and raisin, experimented with maple syrup and dried cranberries. These turned out okay but not spectacular, and latterly I have been finding that the texture with this recipe is not all that could be hoped and not as nice as it's sometimes been.

Today's lunch: as yesterday involved a Sekkrit Projekt Konklave, partner hunted and gathered the ingredients. There was a whole seabass, which I decided to try salt-baking (not quite that method: no rosemary and a somewhat hotter oven), although I think one probably needs actually even more salt than I had. It did turn out quite nicely, however; the only problem was around the dexterity required to dish it up without getting any of the salt on it (otherwise it is not at all unduly saline). For the cavolo nero I tried this recipe, albeit with dried rosemary and crushed chilli flakes, and it was okay but could possibly have done with slightly longer cooking (or maybe cutting the leaves a little finer?). I roasted the sweet potatoes (cut into think slices) with the chopped Romano peppers in pumpkin seed oil.

No bread made today but probably will need to during the course of the week.

Black Sails 2.01.

Jan. 25th, 2015 05:36 pm
selenak: (Ship and Sea by Baranduin)
[personal profile] selenak
Season 2 is here! (If you need an s1 recap, here's my review.) I was not a little thrilled to hear Bear McCreary's score again.

Pirates, now with flashbacks )

I never find this not irritating

Jan. 24th, 2015 05:49 pm
oursin: a hedgehog lying in the middle of cacti (hedgehog and cactus)
[personal profile] oursin

People constantly recirculating that spoof review of Lady Chatterley's Lover ('these sidelights on the management of a Midlands shooting estate') and taking it as a real review in a real periodical.

This keeps coming up on my Twitter feed and yes, people do seem to be taking it at entirely face value.

The peeves, they be agitated.

I am sure that there are similar instances of something that was meant to be a joke being cited as if entirely SRS, further down the line.

Not quite the same thing perhaps, but a similar segue, of recent time I have found myself mentioning the mutation of a story by Arthur Machen (he of the currently threatened library collection which perhaps should have gone in the first place to somewhere that collected literary libraries and archives rather than a public library), 'The Bowmen', which became the urban legend about the 'Angels of Mons'. ('It must be true, I read in the paper', in this instance, The Evening News.)

(One might also invoke here those earnest scholars who allegedly wrote to George Macdonald Fraser begging for a glimpse at the Flashman papers.)

Wolf Hall 1.01. Three Hat Trick

Jan. 23rd, 2015 07:45 pm
selenak: (Young Elizabeth by Misbegotten)
[personal profile] selenak
So far, so well done. They kept the jumping between eras of Mantel's first volume - but imo at least, it was not difficult to follow which time period we were in at which point - , and for the first episode, focused on the fall of Wolsey as a unifying theme, with Cromwell not meeting Henry (as in, actually talking to him) until the very end. Naturally, there's a lot of exposition - this is where everyone gets introduced - but the only time it came across as "as you know, Bob" clumsy to me was when Wolsey summed up Henry's marital history with Katherine for Cromwell. All the other times the information felt like a natural part of the dialogue.

Mark Rylance is very good as Cromwelll, getting across the man's intelligence and constant observation of everyone else. Not yet the ruthlessness because at this point he hasn't had a chance to exhibit it yet, but the toughness. The first episode's main emotional emphasis was in his relationship with Wolsey (and they kept the flashbacks to Cromwell Senior's treatment of him until we're two thirds in, so the audience is allowed to conclude Wolsey is Cromwell's replacement father on its own before that) and with his wife and daughters. (If you've read the novels, the younger daughter wearing her angel wings willl make you wince for more than one reason.) By contrast, the various courtiers and later players are briefly sketched. Mark Gatiss wins for character with only a few lines yet completely getting the personality and type of relationship with Cromwell across, very memorable. (He plays Gardiner.) Damian Lewis is no slouch, either, in that last scene as Henry VIII., whom everyone keeps talking about in the course of the episode, so basically he's the Harry Lime of Wolf Hall with the heavily delayed entrace. Said scene paints Henry as intelligent, still having some residual affection for the Cardinal but also no intention whatsoever to save him, and quickly deducing Cromwell can be useful.

Scenes only of significance if you either are aware of history or have read the novels: Mark Smeaton (though the last name hasn't been spoken out loud yet). "You may not think of us, Mark, but we think of you" indeed. I wonder whether anyone is watching it unspoiled by both und what they make of them?

They've cast Thomas Brodie Sangster as Rafe, and he's adorable (again); I've never had much investment in Rafe in the novels, so that was welcome (considering Rafe is one of Cromwell's most constant dialogue partners in upcoming events).

Lastly, the look: is gorgeous. All the candlelight minus electricity when filming certainly paid off. The costumes certainly look authentic (especially when compared to, err, certain other productions set within the same era). Oh, and bonus points for a Katherine of Aragon who isn't black haired but auburn (which according to all descriptions she was). She still speaks with a Spanish accent, though, which personally I doubt she still did at that point of her life (I mean, the woman has lived in England since she was 16, now it's more than two decades later).

Past its sell-by date?

Jan. 23rd, 2015 01:25 pm
oursin: Early C19th engraving of a hedgehog with its spines shaved off (naked hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

I perceive that somebody has perpetrated a movie based on Kyril Bonfiglioli's Charlie Mortdecai thrillers - about which there was once some slight discussion in these here parts.

(I realise that these belong on the shelf alongside my collection of Flashman books and the works of Simon Raven as not exactly guilty pleasures, but ones that may seem counter-intuitive along with the Kipling-luv? Ability to read as sexist privileged male possibly inculcated at early age? Or, actually, damn-fine writing which is pretty knowing about the tropes it is toying with.)

Anyhoo, seeing posters for this forthcoming movie on the sides of buses did not fill me with eager anticipation.

It seems I was right. The rather uneven columnist Sam Leith comes good on the subject: The Charlie Mortdecai thrillers are darker and stranger than any film of them could be and in today's Guardian reviews section it gets 2 stars and Peter Bradshaw, while copping to 'one or two daft laughs', is not kind.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Johanna, who in the first volume mounts Charlie wearing riding boots and gallops him to climax (while, as I recall, married to another man)? (also, in the books, the cop turned out to be her brother, not a backdoor man).

I'm not sure these are entirely filmable, as with anything where one of the major pleasures of the text is the narrative tone, but I do wonder if they missed the right date for the attempt even to try, which would have been some time in the 1970s.

There are probably similar critical dates for adaptations of other texts, or even just for Big Ideas That Would Make A Great Movie. (And by 'critical date', I don't mean, fits in with current WW1 centenary obsessions.)

Elementary 3.11

Jan. 23rd, 2015 11:32 am
selenak: (Holmes and Watson by Emme86)
[personal profile] selenak
In which Gregson must have an odd sense of deja vu in more ways than one.

Read more... )

I am getting too old for this game

Jan. 22nd, 2015 08:52 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

No, honestly, I am getting too old for this.

(This being a prolonged and strenuous day sorting out and packing up archives on site, which is a situation in which one may permissibly invoke the term 'dusty'.)

Also, it is rather dating to discover that the sampler ebook of Feminist Radical Thinkers being offered to me by Verso consists of excerpts from works that I bought when they were shiny new things.


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