Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Sunday, 26 September 2010
My friend recently went to a Blitz Party. 1940s fancy dress was compulsory, the venue was a warehouse decked out like an air raid shelter and a swing band played on stage.
Predominantly, I love it. I think it's a great idea. I'm a massive fan of anything retro, vintage or slightly past its sell-by-date. My dream home, in fact, will need to incorporate the following:
- a phone with a dial instead of buttons,
- a door-knocker, not a bell.
- a hatstand
- a globe
[I'd also like a gramophone, but I understand that, sometimes, practicality must be considered.]
However, part of me felt that maybe it could be slightly bad taste. Is it wrong for people who have grown up in times of relative peace and plenty to go out on the lash dressed as 1940s Londoners who faced hunger, loss and even death?
I swiftly concluded that I was being ridiculous. Who would want to go to a party that accurately depicted the 1940s? An evening of rationing, blackouts and the threat of war does not sound like much of a laugh. But what these parties are doing, in a way, is highlighting the things we miss that their generation had in abundance. A sense of community, for example. Glamour. The ability to get by on what little was available rather than needing everything immediately and paying for it with borrowed money. The music; dancing in pairs rather than sweating out in groups to a bass line that makes your brain ache. They may have had less, and faced dangers that we don't, but they lived.
As I thought about this on my what home, I realised that's the way the world works. Each generation carries its good and its bad to the next. The new generation adapts its inheritance - the fashions, the lifestylyes, the opinions - to fit in with their situation. And I suppose it will be no different for us; our hopes and fears will be carried over and kept, changed or discared as the younger generation sees fit. Perhaps in 50 years they'll do the same for us; a Global Recession Party, dress like bankers and G20 protesters. We're all in it together, I suppose - the women who held the fort in WW2, the bankers who sent the world into economic meltdown and the hipsters of the future, whizzing around on their space bikes and jet packs. We're all involved in a massive struggle, centuries of trial and error, to make the world a better place. I'm off to book tickets for the next Blitz Party. It's not bad taste at all; bad taste would be forgetting.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Monday, 13 September 2010
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Sunday, 5 September 2010
My choice of film has recently been the subject of criticism. In brief, I've been accused of having an exceedingly narrow mind when it comes to choosing what to watch. Apparently, I will only admit to enjoying films that aren't in the English language [*cough* Bollocks! *cough*] and, according to my brother and N, I need to broaden my cinematic horizons from World Cinema and watch more mainstream films. If you ask me, that's a contradiction in terms and can only make my selection less varied, but I agreed in order to combat this assassination of my character.
The first genre of which I was deemed particularly ignorant was horror, so it was agreed that we would each choose one horror film, and watch them back-to-back. I had one condition: no torture porn. So I sat down yesterday evening with three DVDs (The Omen, Pontypool and Paranormal Activity), too much popcorn and a cushion to hide behind should the demons, zombies and the apostates of Hell get too much for me.
The fact that I haven't watched many horror films in the past is not, contrary to popular belief, because I think them unworthy. The fact is, they too often scare the shit out of me and I'm not very manly in my reactions. Despite being a complete wimp, however, I can't deny that it is fun to do. There's something about the adrenaline rush you get from horror films that isn't equalled by any other genre, and come to think of it, it's a thrill I'd never seek out in real life, either - you won't find me prowling dark alleys or graveyards in the dead of night looking for something to terrify me, thank you very much. It's all a bit odd really. I mean if fear is a natural reaction, designed to make us run as fast we can in the other direction, what are we getting out of putting ourselves through the nail-biting, blood-curdling, sleep-depriving scenes that we watch? Is that not a bit like self-flagellation? Why force yourself to be uncomfortable?
Perhaps it's meant to provide an escape from the monotony of reality - maybe we look to horror films to provide us with a surge of adrenaline that we don't get anywhere else. And, because the action unfolds behind a screen, we get the rush without the danger. I'd go with this - and add to the theory that, as the setting of horror films is usually rural US towns, I feel extra safe. I mean the chances of being allowed onto a plane with a chainsaw are slim, and I don't think demons have passports. I've also heard that horror films are often looked at challenges to overcome - endurance tests. This is, apparently, why horror is particularly popular with teenage boys - sitting through two hours of blood, guts and gore is a way proving their masculinity [perhaps this is where I went wrong - at their age I was probably still watching and re-watching Pretty Woman]. Others watch horror solely for the sense of relief at the end, the calm after the storm has passed.
While I'm not sure of the reason behind the popularity of the horror genre, I will admit to enjoying the films I watched last night. Perhaps the plan is working and soon I'll be horror movie buff, able to sit through all manner of torture scenes without flinching. But that's a long way off. In the meantime, I'm off to watch some more Almodóvar [my director of choice at the moment]. I need to watch something nice, something colourful, something relaxing. I didn't sleep last night you see; it's quite difficult with the light on.