Monday, February 18, 2008

See ya!

Having a week or two blog-break as quite a lot of stuff on. See you soon!

"Flying Betwixt Clouds..."

I've watched 2 films this week with similar theme: the fragility... and with it, the beauty... of the fractured and disintegrating mind.

Last night BBC TV showed a documentary about the last weeks of jazz musician George Melly; he was dying from cancer and suffering from increasing dementia. It was moving ( not a word to use lightly..) because the film revealed (through tender glimpses into Melly's confusion) the absolute essence of this funny, sexy, difficult, generous man. We saw who he'd become and through this, we saw who he'd been. There was laughter/ gentleness, sadness/strength, even some joy; there was also a measure of anger and grief too....but throughout, there was a bravery of the human spirit....particularly from Melly's wife, Diana, who, amongst other marvellous things, allowed a troupe of ex girlfriends ( including a turbanned bejewelled crimson-lippied Molly Parkin) to visit ( with merriment) his deathbed..

THEN earlier in the week, we watched " Away from her", the Oscar nominated film directed by Sarah Polley. The film is adapted from a story by Alice Munro: "The Bear came over the mountain" and it stars Gordon Pinsent ( gravitas by the ton here ) and Julie Christie, who at 67, still has that luminosity associated with much younger women.. ( and then, only a lucky few)

AND Christie's wistful character, Fiona ( diagnosed with Alzeimers) remained beautiful to the end: her bewilderment was peaceful, it was sometimes harsh, and although some of her comments were misted and tragic, some had that wonderful sharpness I recognised...

BECAUSE Laura's mind "flew betwixt clouds" ( just as my own mother's once did)..... and Christie gave a performance I for one will never forget.
( OK.....I phrased that badly in the circumstances...but hopefully you follow my drift..)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Breakfast at the Blue Moon...""

My city is full of eating places. There's all kinds, believe me; you can eat cheaply, cosily, costly, casually, chic-ly...but today we discovered a new place. And it seems it's been there for ages. We've been a bit slow. We must've walked past it lots. But we'd never heard of it, let alone seen it or tried it. And it's great. It's by the river ( near the suspension bridge) and it's called the Blue Moon Cafe and it buzzes ( at least it did at 11:30 this morning) .It's like sloping into a 1950/1960's coffee bar; it has original stuff: furniture, posters etc (the best original coffee bar was the Elvista, high up on Watergate Row)...and yes, the Blue Moon has a juke box ( an Ami Continental, packed with 100 brilliant discs) and its food....yum, enough said, but there's bacon butties, big breakfasts ( little ones) home cooked, Mediterranean, Eastern, TexMex....hmm.
I'm busy a lot next week, but the following one....

Friday, February 15, 2008

"St Valentine's Day...."

Yesterday we went to see David Lean's " Brief Encounter" because this is one of my favourite films of all time. It was made in 1946, in black/white ( which to me is more colourful than colour, if you get my drift...) and it tells of a time when passion was muted ( at least in public...), when women wore tweed suits and stockings (with seams) and many looked pretty and prim.... and men wore sports jackets with leather elbow patches and smoked pipes and many looked handsome ( there's a word...) and soulful...

AND yesterday, at the end of the film, the audience clapped ( they actually clapped) and there was gentle laughter and as the lights went on, everyone was smiling. I saw a red-lipped teenage girl in skintight jeans, stiletto heels, giggling with her pink-cheeked granny.... AND two red-haired thirty-somethings, still in their seats, stroking each other's gorgeous hair as they gazed into each other's eyes.... AND just by the door stood two white-haired guys ( probably 80?) who spoke in booming well-shod voices ...and the smaller one said to the taller one: :" THAT'S how films should be, Charles, that's how films SHOULD be, Charles!"... and the teenage girl giggled some more with her granny and then she caught my eye and her smile was as vivid as Celia Johnson's...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"The Rites Of Spring"

A friend just told me ( in the " nicest possible way") that I need a new haircut ready for Spring.
AM I this bad?! ( see above)
I met this character on the sandstone trail somewhere in mid Cheshire this last glorious w/end.
There was a glimmer of recognition at once.
" A mirror image" someone said, before sloping off to stare through his binoculars...
And NOW, as I said, a friend's just told me...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

" Writers From Wales"

I've recently met two writers who live in Wales. Neither are Welsh but they both take part of their vivid inspiration from the Celtic landscape, its history and its people.

Novelist Gee Williams visited Chester LitFest Friends yesterday; her book " Salvage" ( Alcemi) was published last year. She's written poetry, short stories, plays, and this was her first novel. As yet, I haven't read it, but the bits she read, sounded delicious. It's a tale of self-discovery, written from the point of view of 5 different characters, and listening to Gee discussing their creation, I look forward to meeting them. Gee has a book of shortstories out in April and she's now 30,000 words into her next novel....

The 2nd writer I met was Swansea-based poet David Woolley. Woolley, who directs the annual Dylan Thomas Festival ( among other things), published his most recent collection: "Written on our hands" in 2006; one of its poems ( "Angel") describes Anthony Gormley's sculpture "Angel of the North", with Woolley's words taking on something of the shape of the sculpture..

The Saturday before last, Woolley and L'pool writer GladysMary Coles ( see my post:Oct 31st) ran a writing day at Theatr Clwyd, Mold. I think they'd expected a "student no-show"; the morning was foggy and snowy and freezing cold, but the topic " Place and Space" obviously enticed/intrigued ( along with the lecturers) so almost all who'd enrolled arrived, ( if only eventually!) and the day was both fun and inspiring.
We'd arrived thinking we'd be snowed up in Wales for a week....( ha! we'd have been pretty cosy in Theatr Clwyd, with great cafe, comfy bar overlooking spectacular Welsh mts) but in the end, we drove home in slivers of sunshine at the end of a gold-coloured afternoon...