Saturday, April 29, 2006

my review

Of 'About the Looking for and Finding of Love', which is also reviewed on Pun's blog.

It was funny because it was so over the top, it used cliches and the characters were kind of real, but not altogether sympathetic. But I dunno, German humour is really weird, or else I can't really get into things with unsympathetic characters. So it was bizarre, good, but not likely to become one of my favourites. I think for most of the first half it seemed lacking in, I dunno, sincerity? The mix of tragic and comic seemed somehow off to me, they weren't blended in the way that can be sublime. It was sad at the end though... I liked the bits that were sad best. The others I was unsure of. It made me doubt love. You know, there are all these grand tragic love stories, or ones with happy endings, and there is this romantic ideal of love, but in reality all you see are these relationships, full of bickering and stupidity and overall mundanity. Love seems to be like angst, if you are in it it is big and serious and elating or depressing, but other people don't take it seriously. Or something. The movie was like that... In that it didn't take anything seriously. So I was left with a feeling of artificiality, in the emotions and the breasts that wereoccasionally flashed around on screen. Nothing appeared real, or with any depth. You'd think there would be depth in going to the underworld to bring back your dead lover. But overall it made me think of the falseness and mundanity of love, at least of their love. So there you go.

Still, a fun night was had by all, what with Japanese dinners and meeting German movie goers and running into someone from EU (briefly but unexpectedly) and lots and lots of chocolate. And chatting. Which is always good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

reviews in the key of sleepiness

Well, what a sucky day it's been. At work, with horrible managers and making mistakes throughout. But now I look forward to it improving, as I'm about to head over to visit Sophie and Nagisa for dinner. Yay! As for reviews...

The Deans Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. I really liked this book, it is very nice. Which sounds like damning it with faint praise, when that's not what I mean at all. The characters are not always nice, but they are generally believable, and they all have some good in them. It restores your faith in humanity. It also really emphasised to me the love of God, that is huge and everywhere, and what being Christian is really about. It restores your faith in God. Now, if you are not a Christian, I don't know whether you'll like this book, because the writer obviously is, and the book is suffused by it. Maybe this would annoy you. But it really shouldn't, because it is a beautiful little book. Written in 1960, set in the late 19th century, it is very much a period novel. Cosy in places, moving throughout, I recommend it and I know that this review fails to do it any sort of justice. I just know that I was walking around while reading it seeing love everywhere, which made me happy and I think this is definitely a good thing.

number9dream by David Mitchell. This is completely different to the last book. It is full of flights of fancy, interrupted by violence, interrupted by introspection and flashbacks. It had a really likeable main character and some awesome style. Very modern. Or post-modern. Full of stories and characters and plots. And very, very well-written. You should read it. It filled me with more of a sense of paranoia than of love, but all the same it was worth it for the journey. A book that makes you want to read more books.

I don't know what else to say, I've left it a bit long to write these reviews and it has, as I previously mentioned, been a bad/long day. So I know the reviews are crap, but the books are written much better, so read them anyway. :) And I had to write them, because I was sick of having the last blog post floating around at the top. It's had its turn.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Yesterday I had a day off. I also had a relatively new book to read. It had a good first page, and I was gripped by the line: "a galaxy of cream unribbons in my coffee cup". Mostly I liked the word 'unribbons', it is what milk or cream does in a coffee cup. I was slightly irritable after my fruitless attempt to track down a missed caller, and I had to buy a train ticket to Canberra.
It was such a warm and sunny day, and after buying my ticket I had nothing really to do, and no-one was around, so I spent the day tripping through the city. I wondered. I was caught up in my book and randomly wondering the city, so basically it was an afternoon spent dipping in and out of reality.
From Central station, wondered along through the park. The way to the city from the boarding house, when Nagisa, Lanny, Sophie and I would escape the boarding house for the afternoon for a quick visit to Chinatown. It always seemed different approaching from that direction, if you come straight from the station and walk across the park, and the tram lines, and past the theatre, then George St seems kind of insignificant. It stops being the defining feature of the city. Instead you are caught up in the little backstreets, and the larger streets, that sprawl out into an extended Chinatown. From there you walk through Chinatown proper, stopping at Y2K for pearl sago tea (which I did, after buying skittles from a convenience store). I stopped to drink my tea and read my book on a seat on the street. The pearl sago balls get a bit much after a while, they always do, but the tea tastes like Hong Kong. It is a shock to look up from a book that has dragged you through a night in Tokyo to find yourself in Chinatown. Disorienting.
I kept up the walking through backstreets, sometimes I feel like I've seen most parts of the city too many times already. It's nice to explore new areas. I found an alternative bookshop, full of books ranging from mainstream religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism), through New Age, astrology and self-help to the truly, truly weird. Titles like 'Hair of the Alien: DNA and other forensic evidence for alien contact', and a real-life version of Loony Lovegood's father's paper (you know, from Harry Potter). It was truly bizarre. People are strange.
I was looking for a Sanity store, partially because I felt I was surfing the edge of mine, but mostly because I have a voucher. Then I found myself in Skygarden, going up escalators because someone (Ang?) had been talking about a shop somewhere there that was cool although I couldn't remember why. Despite this vague plan, and my being sidetracked by looking at hats and fake frangipanis, I did eventually discover that this was a British sweet shop, selling on of my all-time favourite cereals-frosted shreddies. Basically wheat pieces coated in sugar. Like Punch and Judy toothpaste they are a sweet, sweet childhood memory- unobtainable in Australia. A box of them cost $8, although they were on sale for $5. Exorbitant for cereal. I walked away, pausing to buy myself a Frys Bar. I ate it, while reading and politely farewelling people who tried to sell me facials. Why does that always happen?
I found a Sanity, but it didn't have anything I wanted, so I went to HMV, because I love it there. I like to listen to music and watch the day go by to different soundtracks. I was listening to some 'new music', a Fallout Boy cd, when a song sounded familiar. I thought I was mistaken, but the chorus I knew.
"We're going down, down, in an earlier round,
But sugar we're going down swinging,
I'll be your number one with a bullet"
and so on. It was actually stuck in my head for a while some time ago. I don't remember when, or why, or where I heard it first, but there you go. I liked it anyway. Pop punk makes angst fun! So I thought maybe I should buy it. I was thinking of buying Prince's greatest hits, but now am in a dilemma. They are both very different styles of music of course... I don't know if I want the whole Fallout Boy cd though, it did seem to drag toward the end. If I can find a halfway decent Sanity I'll hang around trying to make up my mind a bit longer. I would like to own some pop punk, but not too much.
My book had unexpected violence and gang warfare. I walked crazy up from Pitt Street to Hyde Park. You know when you're flying along and smiling, and still half out of reality if you can at all help it? Maybe not. Anyway, I was nice to the Greenpeace guy that I avoided, I took a photo for random tourists, and there was unexpectedly a photography exhibition under the trees. It's always strange to see pictures of Circular Quay with horses, carts and sailing ships. There was this photo there, and somehow it was the same, although completely different. I looked at the photos and listened to the busker and smiled.
There's a garden at the end of the avenue of trees, for some king or other. I was going to wonder in, but there were a couple of schoolkids kissing passionately, so I wondered hastily away. To the bus stop opposite Town Hall, where there was a graduation, and a bus to take me through Pyrmont and over the harbour bridge, while I read my book and twisted round in the back seat to look at the city skyline. And head home.