Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Today, this Sunday, was the first day of a week of cultural barrenness for me. Live culture, anyway. Seven days off from having to see anything, I have. I’m not entirely sure, but I think it may be the most days I’ve had off in quite some time. It seems like it is.
308/whatever in Inferno. And The Tale of Genji, I have to admit, has fallen by the wayside – the right book at the wrong time, I suppose. I want to keep reading it, but I’m not sure I have the willpower at the moment, even though I was thoroughly enjoying it. Hopefully I’ll pick it up again with the next month, and I won’t have to read it all the way from the beginning.
Saw Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists at the Opera House today – rather good. Tchaikovsky’s serenade for strings was the standout.
Went home, had dinner and whatnot (no space) for about an hour, and then left for the city again, to university this time.
Saw the Australia Ensemble at UNSW, and that was quite good.
Though nothing eclipsed the Walton from last night.
290/whatever in Inferno. I don’t know if Dan Brown’s prose is worse than usual, or if I’m just noticing it more… But I’m noticing it more. Although it’s not like I’m reading it for the prose, obviously. There’s so much redundancy in it, too, so that whenever something from the past is referred to, it’s explained again. Which means you don’t have to remember anything for yourself, which is nice for this kind of story.
(I think I’ve found that I can handle two shows in one day much better if I can come home in between them, even if it’s only for an hour. It lets you let go of the facade, I find, and let’s you recharge a bit. The facade costs energy, you know.)
I reminisced ever so slightly about my day of graduation, sitting there in the Clancy Auditorium as I was tonight. Every time I go there I think about it, even if only for a few seconds. The thing is, dear reader, I don’t believe that what makes me think of it is the Proust-like resurgence of my memory of my graduation, but rather, suddenly in my head pops the idea “I haven’t thought about my graduation yet”. I seem to have this desire to not think about the graduation when I’m there – not because I want to forget it (far from it), but because I want to test, as it were, whether constant exposure can make a memory invisible (or can make a memory stop resurging). Whether the past can be rendered neutral by habit. (It’s a bit like me not noticing what a great building the Opera House is anymore, as I go there all the time, you understand?)
I don’t know why I have this desire, however. Hmm.
Saw Ashkenazy’s Favourites tonight with the Sydney Symphony. Nothing is wrong with the world when the music is right, yes? Discovered a new favourite piece of mine – Walton’s first symphony. Oh good lord was it good! Plus one to England and all that too. (I’ve been meaning to give Elgar’s Falstaff another listen to as well – I recorded the concert off the radio. I didn’t record tonight’s live broadcast, unfortunately, and I’m kicking myself for it. And it’s not like I forgot, or wasn’t aware – I’d heard about it on the radio throughout the day, and I just decided not to bother. Sigh!)
150/whatever in Inferno. I don’t know if there’s a reason for it, but the book has 102 chapters (and a prologue and epilogue). Clearly, if any book in the world was going to have 100 chapters (to go with Dante’s cantos), it should be this one, right? I’ll get back to you on that.
I want to hear the Walton again, damn it!
Saw G tonight at the Sydney Theatre. Rather a bit too loud for my liking, the music, but the show was good. Not boring, that is. (Which, much more than theatre, is the primary way I decide if the choreography/dancing is any good.)
Faced a slight dilemma afterwards, though, as there was a private function in the Richard Wherrett Studio (a room that leads off from the main foyer), and there was rows of glasses of wine on the bar in the foyer too. And I had no idea whether the rows of glasses in the foyer itself were for the people not invited to the private function (ie, me). So I spent a minute or two hanging around, trying to size it up, until I saw quite a few women go up and get glasses for themselves, and have the bartender happy for them to do so, and have them walk away (and not into the private function). I only stuck around for ten minutes, though – hopefully there were no speeches… I have a feeling there wasn’t. But that’s probably me just rationalising it. (I wasn’t particularly in the mood to stand by myself in the foyer for another fifteen minutes to find out, even if I did have a book to read.) Oh well – how morals fly out the window when awkwardness is involved!
Rather different crowd than usual, too, which isn’t surprising, obviously, as it was a dance show rather than a play. Although there were one or two people I recognised, but that’s a very small number to those I usually see. (It’s like taking a train to work everyday – you tend to get to know your fellow passengers by sight, yes?) Saw someone there I have an ever so slight crush on, too, but, given that this is a slightly public forum for such things, I’m not about to allude to any more details about her, dear reader. That is the good thing about theatrical opening nights, too – especially the ballet. It’s a chance to escape the nursing home that used to be my saturday matinee season ticket theatrical performances, and is still my concert-going milieu.
(First time I’ve used “milieu” in a while.)
But speaking of unusual, I happened to see a rather peculiar guy there, too. He had a nose ring and an earring – or perhaps they were studs or something – and he had three or four chains running between them. I think they swooped up to somewhere on his jaw as well, but I could be remembering it wrong (I didn’t exactly stare at him for three minutes). I’ve only ever really seen that type of thing on Indian women before. (This guy wasn’t a goth, by the way; one assumes he was gay.) Very curious. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, what would happen if one of his friends got drunk and tried to hail a taxi too enthusiastically beside him. (Ahh, ripping flesh – enjoy your meal if you’re having one, dear reader.)
What can one offer a girl, I wonder? I’m in the curious position of being able to take someone to the best seats in the house at the opera, but I would have trouble buying dinner for both of us beforehand. But poets must have managed to breed somehow, otherwise there wouldn’t be any left, right?
(Yes I realise that’s fallacious.) (Phallacious, even, if you wanted to get suggestive, what with me talking about breeding and all.)
39/463 in Inferno by Dan Brown, which I got in the mail today.
Saw Cavalia tonight at the Big Top at Moore Park or wherever it is. Good. Spectacular, somewhat. Not as entertaining as proper Cirque du Soleil, though. Made me want to ride a horse quite fast, though, but I’ve only ever ridden a horse once, when I was much much smaller, and I recall that, while a somewhat enjoyable experience, it was also rather stressful. (I think it was probably not a fully grown horse either.)
Afterparty at the “Rendez-Vous Lounge”, which is part of the facilities built there for this particular show. Interesting afterparty food-wise, too – the food was slices and cakes and cookies. I had some chocolate caramel slice thing (I think), something that looked like it might have been a custard tart but ended up tasting a bit like a lemon cheesecake but not quite (I think), a brownie (I’m fairly sure it was a brownie), and a cookie made of I-have-no-idea. Pot of chocolate sauce there, too, and some other cakes, but I didn’t go in for everything. Glass of champagne was had by me, though – and one of the nicer champagnes I’ve had (not that I ever like the champagne as much as I hope I will, however), and a small tumbler of white wine.
You know why boring theatre is so soul destroying? It’s quite accurate, methinks, to describe a lot of television, and how valuable it is artistically, to simply the fact that it’s “better than doing nothing”. (Though there’s many, many shows that far exceed that, obviously.) And if it isn’t better than doing nothing, then you have the option of doing nothing – that is, you turn the TV off. In theatre you don’t have that option.
It’s like Chinese water torture – the constant drip on the forehead. If you know you can get up at any point and go play a video game or have something to eat, it’s much more easy to stand than if you’re strapped to a table and not being allowed to move, yes?
Finished the section on Shakespeare in my book today. I assume I’ll keep reading (it’s going through all the same stuff, but slightly differently, or with different examples, or something like that), though.
I’d post some lines I wrote today, but now, at 2.30am in the morning, I find I’m overcoming with a certain embarrassment. Very weird.
In the very nascent and unregular tradition of posting the best line of the day, I give you two, dear reader:
“All wars reduce to braggarts forced from beds
And trying to get back in them again.”
Yes, I know – nothing special. But not crap, probably. Just average. (And that’s not even considering whether the sentiment is correct or not, but as it’s a character saying it, and hence subjective, who gives a toss!)
It should be noted that I only wrote two lines today, so I didn’t have much to choose from.
A month and three days until my birthday now, and I doubt this play will be finished by then. But if I can get up to the end of the fourth act, the rest should write itself without much gnashing of my mind, hopefully. Let me fling myself over the hill and onto the falling action, please, dear muse.
I’ve noticed, in the book I’m reading, that Shakespeare is fond of writing:
i’ th’ X
where X is another word. So it’s “in the X”, but the “in the” is the soft beat, and meant as one half of the foot, even though it’s two syllables. Sometimes he doesn’t even put apostrophes in similar situations, and I only assume he’s employing the same technique because it’s the least complicated way to scan the line, by assuming that two minor/unimportant words are meant to be taken as one – said fast, that is. (Occam’s Razor and all that.)
I was wondering whether one couldn’t get a dance rhythm out of it, like:
“On-the ninth of-the third did-he jump, did-he ride, in-the woods.” (Note that the sentence doesn’t make all that much sense – I’m not concerned with that at the moment.)
If “i’ th’” is allowable as half a foot, as well as other things of Shakespeare’s (or if it’s an acceptable deviation), then is that allowable too? Not that I’d probably ever want to do that – that line I just wrote sounds horrible having to say it out, assuming one wants to keep any semblance of it only having five iambs in it.
Although saying it out loud, it does have a kind of galloping rhythm to it, too. Almost the William Tell Overture. Ha! I always knew music and playwriting where separated at birth. (This, too, is one of my rationalisations of why I go to concerts instead of sitting at home spending more time writing plays.) (“Yes, mum, I’m doing my homework, but it’s Business Studies, and I have to see businesses in action, don’t I? So I’ll be going to McDonald’s for dinner each night from now on.”)
(I should point out that I noticed “i’ th’” before this book. It’s not like it’s a new discovery. But perhaps, now that I’m obsessed with checking the meter of everything, I’m discovering the technicality it poses the poet.)
Rules for writing soap operas:
1) Proximity nearly always breeds affection, no matter the marital status of the people in proximity to one another.
2) Secrets and lies should be a regular occurrence, so as to enable the writer to, a few episodes later, reveal the secret/lie to another character.
3) Happiness cannot last longer than an episode, two episodes at the most.
4) A medical emergency must happen at least once a season.
5) The right thing should, if at all possible, happen at the wrong time.
6) If in doubt, self-dissatisfaction and ennui can be used to bring about self-destructive behaviour.
7) In relation to number 2, multiple times in an episode, a character must ask another if they can “have a minute”, which usually means that another character will have to vacate the scene. (To be perfectly honest, dear reader, I cannot remember the last time I asked someone to get out of the room because I wanted to talk to someone else in the room. So is it just me, or does that kind of thing not happen in real life?)
8) Success rarely comes without a caveat or taint (and if it doesn’t, then see number 6).
9) No doubt there’s more, but I can’t be bothered thinking of them.
One thing I hope, by studying this Shakespeare’s Use of the Arts of Language book (I wonder how many times I will try and read through it, and if I will seriously try to commit most of it to memory), is that I will therefore increase my options, as it were, when writing, say, a speech, or a bit of dialogue. To make myself more conscious of the mechanics behind it, so I can more confidently manipulate them, and it’s not as much guesswork. Something like that.
The point being, I wonder if writing a soap-opera is a bit like that too, for a writing team. ”We can apply this tactic to this situation,” the writers might say.
Of course, it can’t all be mechanical, and lord knows one wouldn’t want it to be. Otherwise it’d be no fun. But I’ve noticed that when writing my reviews, I do – though I doubt I could spell them out for you now, dear reader – tend to have some tactics that I use, things that I know will generate words for me. And so it’s not as if every word and every sentence is a new beginning, but rather it builds up a sort of steam…
I bought The Wire today – the television show. I’ve seen the first season and loved it, so the rest should be good, hopefully.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men…
Note to self: if your writing for the day isn’t all you wanted it to be, reading some of the great passages from Shakespeare probably isn’t going to make you feel any better.
I was wondering whether I should, perhaps, post what I think is the best line that I wrote each day on here, except I look at what I wrote today and find that I’m not particularly happy with any of it. Sigh!
Oh, yes, preordered Dan Brown’s Inferno yesterday. Also, in the shops today, I saw Raymond Feist’s Magician’s End, which is apparently the last book of the “Riftwar Cycle” – that is, the many series of books that he has been writing for the past 30 years that are set in the same world. I was really into his novels when I was younger, though I haven’t read the latest three or four or five (or six, maybe), because I haven’t really had time for fantasy. Although we have most of them in the house, anyway – except his latest trilogy, I think – because dad reads them. I can see myself reading his entire oeuvre all over again, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And exactly when will I schedule that, I wonder?
Okay, so the best line, probably, is “Sometimes I… I dream/That she is in my elbow”. Which isn’t much. (“Elbow” is meant to mean “arm”, basically, as in having your arm wrapped around a girl’s waist. I believe – though I’m most likely wrong – that that is what those in the know would call synecdoche. Not that I was thinking of that at the time.)