sir_guinglain: (Default)
[personal profile] sir_guinglain
Butley was given to me by my sister after we went to see a revival of a Simon Gray play in London several years ago. This film version was produced as part of the American Film Theatre seasons, where producer Ely Landau drew on his television experience to make two packages of cinema adaptations of stage plays and sell them in advance to networks of cinemas in the US. The scene is set by a caption reading 'LONDON' at the start of the film, as Alan Bates's Ben Butley cuts himself shaving on a morning, and then by a sequence shot on the northbound platform at Kilburn Park station, moving onto a train (complete with Bakerloo line diagrams showing both branches) where Burley's rudeness, selfishness and uneasy eye towards men are pointed out by Bates's gesture and the sullen curious camera. Most of the two-hour running time is spent in the office Butley shares at Queen Anne College, University of London (with rebellious indifference but solipsistic indulgence too, Butley is always seen entering its precincts through the 'OUT' gateway) with his former pupil, protégé and lover Joey Keystone (Richard O'Callaghan). Joey is disentangling himself from Ben, finding a new partner in publisher Reg (Michael Byrne). Ben snipes continually at Joey's willingness to work within the university career structure, his sexual identity and presentation, while reeling him in to jibes at their older colleague Edna (Jessica Tandy), her teaching (probably diligent) and publishing record. Ben seems to hanker after reconciliation with his estranged wife Anne (Susan Engel), and peppers his conversation with arguments with himself over the location and nature of their last sexual encounter. Georgina Hale, Darien Angadi, Colin Haigh and Simon Rouse play disgusted, belittled, exasperated and furious students.

The self-absorbed alcoholic protagonist who dares the audience to be driven to sympathise with him and so become complicit in his destructive narcissism feels like a 1970s device especially, Butley being a representative of the old professional class overtaken by men who have climbed the new ladders provided by the Welfare State, and women whom he feels really just shouldn't be there. The ground over which the story is told is familiar to an audience in the 2010s, though: society's understanding of gender and sexuality, disintegration and relayering of class structures, academic reform and the need to produce outputs (though we don't hear that term) juxtaposed with teaching demands and assumptions of a new student generation which are incomprehensible to or rejected by their jaded or self-interested elders. It's no spoiler that Ben is eventually left alone in his office with a bottle of Haig's whisky, seemingly content with his own inadequacy. There are aspects of the character close to Alan Bates's own life and large sectors of British society seemed to negotiate the 1970s in a spirit-soaked haze, but though a period piece now Butley is a reminder that social and psychological problem-solving can take a very long time indeed.

Quick review: 10 Greek Street

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 02:31 am
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
We like this place. They have a no booking policy, which meant we had to go to a mediocre cocktail bar whilst waiting for a table to become free, but whilst the cocktails were fine, the company was superlative, so I recommend you all go there with someone as fabulous as [livejournal.com profile] borusa

Once we got our table they quickly brought us some very nice bread, and there was oil on the table, so that worked quite well. We both had fish starters - Robert had the squid and chorizo, and I had the clams with chilli and vermicelli. Mine was very good, but Robert's was excellent. We paired them with a Riesling which was perhaps a little too spicy for either dish, but was pleasant enough.

For our main course we shared the duck with, oh, all the things. There were potatoes and beatroot and leaves and all the other things. The thing that stood out most was the the banana shallots, which it took a while to figure out what they were, but they were really really good even without knowing what they were. The breast meat was very good - it had taken on lots and lots of flavours from something. I felt that the leg meat on the duck could have been a bit more interesting in both taste and texture., and that ajus on the side would have pushed this course from very good indeed to outstanding.

For pudding Robert had a cheesecake which he didn't give me a taste of, and I had a chocolate beetroot cake which was really very good indeed (and he had one more taste of my cake than he cares to admit. So there.)

Three courses, a bottle and a half of wine, and service came in at about £125 for two. I'm fairly sure we'll be going back.

(no subject)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:39 pm
skygiants: Jane Eyre from Paula Rego's illustrations, facing out into darkness (more than courage)
[personal profile] skygiants
Why did I feel compelled to read Death of a Schoolgirl, aka Jane Eyre Solves Mysteries v. 1? Well, I will tell you why:

1. the mystery involved Jane going to help Adele in boarding school and I have always been vaguely resentful that Adele did not show up at the end of the book
2. the back description seemed to indicate that Mr. Rochester was basically not in it AT ALL because Jane was gallivanting around solving mysteries and had no time for him, which is perfect as a concept for a Jane Eyre sequel. All that should ever happen in Jane Eyre sequels is Jane running around doing a million useful things while Rochester stays home and pines. A+, completely true to the spirit of the book.
3. the idea of Jane Eyre using her accomplished sketching skills for the purpose of CRIMINAL FORENSICS is, like, the best thing ever. Let's not lie. It's amazing.

...unfortunately, despite all these points in its favor, the book was not particularly good at capturing any kind of sense of Jane Eyre-ness. I feel bad saying that because the introduction explains that Jane Eyre is very personally meaningful to the author. Jane Eyre is personally meaningful to me too! I just do not think Joanna Campbell Slan's personal Jane is much like my personal Jane. This Jane, well....

JANE: Oh look, a letter from Adele! Who has been stuck at school without seeing anyone for over a year due to FIRE AND DOOM plus new baby! ... I am pretty seriously offended she hasn't congratulated me yet on the baby, I cannot IMAGINE why she wouldn't be happy about this.
ADELE, IN A LETTER: AU SECOURS AU SECOURS AU SECOURS!!!
JANE: This is mildly concerning, but probably no big deal? Everyone knows Adele is basically a dramallama.

However even though Adele is PROBABLY just being a dramallama, Jane wanders up to London anyway, where she promptly sees the body of a schoolgirl being carried out of Adele's school.

ADELE'S TEACHER: Heyyyyy yeah so Adele was freaked out about the dead girl so we gave her some laudanum and she's been passed out most of a day? It's cool, it's cool, kids get hysterical about this kind of thing!
JANE, whose backstory trauma is literally ALL ABOUT DEAD SCHOOLGIRLS: Well, all this is startling, but, I mean, you know the French and all! Definitely still not ruling out a plain case of dramallama!

So Jane wanders off again. She makes a new society lady friend. She thinks about pretty clothes, because clothes descriptions are obligatory in historical mysteries. She ponders her new social responsibilities as mistress of the manor and decides she needs to do more charity. Eventually she gets convinced to go undercover as a German teacher to solve the mystery of the dead schoolgirl, so she does that, and then does solve the mystery, which mostly consists of discovering that the victim was a horrible monster that everybody hated, because having us feel sorry for a dead teenager would be too easy, I guess.

At no point in time does she do anything that particularly reminds me of Jane Eyre. But, like, I'm trying not to judge, Jane Eyre fanfiction is super hard to write. I don't think I could pull off the quality of Jane Eyre-ness either! The thing about Jane Eyre -- or at least Jane Eyre as she is meaningful to me -- is that she's fierce and difficult and self-reliant and weird, like, HELLA weird. And how do you throw all that fierce weirdness at the Standard Historical Mystery London and make them interact? It's an interesting question but sadly I do not buy this book as an answer.

Linkblogging for 02/09/14

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 12:16 am
[syndicated profile] andrew_hickey_feed

Posted by Andrew Hickey

Just a few links today — what little writing I’ve done has been for a project I’ll be announcing in a few days.

Dave ex Machina on the way plane passengers are pitted against each other by reclining seats (for the record, I do recline my seats, because I can barely fit into them otherwise, and usually the person in front has reclined as well, but I move the seat upright if the person behind me asks)

The problems with Weird Al’s “Word Crimes”

Jack Graham, who does the Shabogan Graffiti blog about Doctor Who, now has a blog about Alien.

Millennium has a review of Doctor Who: Deep Breath

And James Ward has written a book about stationery


Tagged: linkblogging

Ronnie Lane on the Shropshire border

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 09:43 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed


Taken around 1975, this photo shows Ronnie Lane at Fishpool Farm, his home at the time.

It stands just over the border in Wales, but the nearest town is Bishop's Castle.

Simon Titley the blogger

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:59 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed
While we mourn Simon Titley, we should remember that he was at one time a considerable blogger.

The Liberal Dissenter flourished in 2004 and 2005.

Here is Simon writing on the fall of David Blunkett in November 2005:
Amid all the media comment about David Blunkett's departure from office last week has been an unpleasant recurring theme. Apparently the man had ideas above his station. 
Aren't there enough legitimate political reasons for opposing Blunkett, principally his instinctive authoritarianism? Instead, there has been a litany of snobbish remarks to the effect that a man who is not only working class in origin but also from the north should have had the temerity to visit the Mayfair nightclub Annabel's.

33 Classic Doctor Who icons

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:52 pm
turlough: Victoria & the Doctor & Jamie looking cold on a wintry beach, Second Doctor adventure 'Fury from the Deep' ((dr who) companions)
[personal profile] turlough posting in [community profile] doctorwho
7 First Doctor adventures, 11 Second Doctor, 2 Third 9 Fourth, 2 Fifth, 1 Sixth, and 1 Seventh
Teasers:
icon icon icon

Shortcut to the icons...

On there being some stolen celebrity nude selfies

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 09:31 pm
lonemagpie: Vastra and Jenny (vastra)
[personal profile] lonemagpie
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/02/a-psa-about-nude-photos/

Chuck is right as usual. You may take this as my "Ditto." (Though also this kind of thing is why I don't use cloud storage. But just because I don't doesn't mean I'd tell anyone else they shouldn't. Everybody's got different preferences and requirements, you see... But I'll tell you what I will tell people: Don't fucking nick stuff. Not rocket science...

The problem with John Bercow

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:28 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed


Back in March 2010, when John Bercow had been in the Speaker's chair for less than a year, I wrote in Liberal Democrat News:
With his gown and boyish smile, John Bercow resembles a progressive young master in an old-fashioned school. And like a lot of masters who want to be popular with their pupils, he has trouble keeping order. 
You can trace his problems back to the undistinguished reign of Michael Martin. Often Buggins’ turn will get you through, but when the expenses storm broke over Westminster Martin proved to have none of the qualities needed to restore its standing in the eyes of the public. 
Trouble was, there was no way of getting rid him other than public ridicule. And in that process the authority, the mystique, of the Speakership took a battering too. 
Then there was the way Bercow got the job. When the election of the new Speaker took place David Cameron was riding high in the polls and many Labour MPs assumed they would soon lose their seats. What better way of getting back at an incoming Conservative House, those Labour MPs reasoned, than landing it with someone it would detest? 
And Bercow, though he started out as secretary of the Monday Club's immigration and repatriation committee, had been long been courting Labour backbenchers with an eye to the Speakership. He did it so blatantly that he became widely disliked on his own side. 
So we again have a Speaker who is not respected by many MPs, which has done nothing to rebuild the standing of the role.
Michael Martin had been elected as Speaker when the bookies' favourite had been Sir George Young, largely because Labour backbenchers believed a House dominated by their party should have a Labour speaker.

As I pointed out in another Lib Dem News column:
There is, incidentally, another reason why Sir George Young lost, and it tells you a lot about Labour backbenchers. They could forgive Bercow for being the former secretary of the Monday club's immigration and repatriation committee, but they could not forgive Young for being an Old Etonian.
To return to the first column, I was right to say he reminds you of a schoolmaster. But what he really reminds me of is the sort of teacher you find immensely impressive when you are 17, but are disappointed by if you meet them in later life. (It was David Grace who made this observation about teachers to me.)

That is the real problem with John Bercow, though many liberals will support his attempts to modernise the Commons. He comes across as a permanent undergraduate.
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by admin

Inevitably with only 15 days left to go before Scotland decides on partition there’s been a lot of betting activity on the referendum outcome with the money going on YES. YouGov’s 6% NO lead, down from 18% in July, has given partition campaigners real hope that what they’ve been campaigning for decades might just conceivably happen.

This poll, and the way it has been highlighted by the media, has all the making of a narrative changer even though all it does is bring YouGov into line with Survation.

My reading is that the oldies will save it for NO for they don’t seem to have been affected by the YES surge. YouGov had them splitting 2 to 1 to rejection and these are people who are much more likely to vote.

Even so I’ve switched my betting round onto YES because I’m hoping for more movement that way on Betfair in the next few days.

For the Clacton by-election we now have a date – October 9th, Dave’s 48th birthday. The big development there has been the Ashcroft Clacton poll which has UKIP ahead by 36% before don’t knows are reallocated and 32% when they are. This is in the same territory as Survation with the main differences being down to methodology.

Whatever it is very hard to see how UKIP can be beaten with such massive poll leads. If you want to tie up a lot of money for five weeks than you should get a reasonable return.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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