Thursday, September 01, 2005

Reading, Films etc

I'm still reading John Murray's Radio Activity, which is proving very enjoyable and inventive. Before that, I read The Code of the Woosters, my first introduction to the world of Jeeves and Wooster, and great fun it was too. I wanted to go around for the rest of the day saying "What ho!" and "Egad!", but I resisted the urge. It's pure frivolous fun with no depth to it, and the situation was perfectly ridiculous (they were trying to steal a silver "cow creamer" from a rather nasty judge) but it made me laugh.

I don't know if I'll read another, though. One can have too much ice-cream.

On Monday, I saw the film Primer, made on a shoestring budget, with unknown actors. It involves a couple of geeky inventors who invent this machine that takes them forwards - or was that backwards? - in time and involves lots of time paradoxes and doubles. It was utterly compelling - while worth the five quid - and totally, utterly baffling. It was, in some sense, a perfectly post-modern film - with lots of suggestions of plot but no actual plot, lots of tricky turns and ideas that hung together less like a conventional plot-based film and more like a bricollage of scenes that somehow hung together.

Then I stayed up to watch The Magic Christian, an obscure piece of British 60's surrealism about a millionaire (Peter Sellers) who adopts a tramp (Ringo Star) as his son, then proceeds to ridicule everyone's greed for money. Very strange, and very 60's, but sort of compelling in its way.

I'm also enjoying some Canadian poetry in New American Writing 23, along with some Vietnamese poetry and translations of Cesar Vallejo. And the new PN Review has just popped through the door - which often has some very interesting articles alongside the poetry. I'm not very good at reading books of criticism; but I do read articles. Sometimes they give me ideas, and introduce me to writers I don't know much about.

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