Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Let's Make A Deal

This article in the NY Times has me ripped to go see the Tristram Shandy movie, which I hope will be brilliant. However, if the film is not brilliant, if it is unbrilliant, I am not going to cry or perform any drastic action, like jump into the water by the plastic pirate ship moored in the West Edmonton Mall (an action, which, as far as harm goes, would probably do little more than severely dampen my clothes and also wash the gel out of my hair—also, I have been told that there are cockroaches in the Cinnzeo's located beside that pirate ship and that these horrible insects love the tepid water, so, as you can imagine, I am definitely NOT going to leap into or even dabble in that fetid pool they call Marineworld or whatever the blazes they DO call it—plus, I don't wear gel in my hair or at all, that was just a lie, it seemed interesting to say at the time). But, if the film succeeds, I'm going to purchase Adaptation and just stare at the DVD covers for it and Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story all day long, my post-modern meta-textual brain fizzing with pleasure. Or just fizzing.

"Bathtime In Clerkenwell" + The Real Tuesday Weld Stephen Coates is a one of a kind, and that's all right with me. The world doesn't need two of him—one will do just fine. But why will one, and only one, Stephen Coates be all that is ever neccessary to the well-being of Britain and listening audiences everywhere? Probably because he does his job so damn well. Another Stephen, not without Merrit (ha!), liked the man's music so much, he took SC out on tour with him, and people all over Europe got to hear the funderful tunes of The Real Tuesday Weld. This tune was everywhere a while- and-a-while ago. Didn't it win some award, or maybe that was the whole album, I, Lucifer, that is. The dancing beast was released in the spring of 2004, and this song was wonderful and unexpected. It still is. The video is pretty famous, too, or maybe it's he look of the video, more than anything. Which seems a stupid thing to say, but, watch it, and you'll know what I mean.

The Arctic Fox: Francis Leopold McClintock, Discoverer of the Fate of Franklin + David Murphy Sometimes, it's not the writing, it's the subject, that makes the book. Like photography, isn't it? Murphy writes a plain strong narrative, nothing wrong with it, but certainly nothing to make you drop to the floor and wriggle unless you happen to be interested in what he's writing about. Which is why I did The Worm for about ten minutes after finishing this book. Francis McClintock was about as tough a baby as anyone ever is in this harsh world. This book is the first biography of him to come out since the publication of Clements Markham's 1909 biography (a book which I have not read). Anyways, McClintock. McClintock was amazing, virtually indestructible. He was that rare man in the British Admiralty, a person not afraid to learn. He basically came up with the idea of sledging across the ice as the most viable means of Arctic exploration (check out one of the cool sledge-flags he used), he organized satellite expeditions, pioneered the idea of moving from cache to cache instead of from ship to starvation, and discovered the only surviving document from the disastrous Franklin expedition of 1845. Did I mention the man was tough? He once travelled 770 miles in 80 days across land so jagged and tough and cold and treacherous—oh, there is no describing how bad it was, you would have to see it for yourself. Or read the book. You know what, stay away from the Arctic. The book is far more comfortable.

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