Living and yet


This evening I heard a whirr. A sense of something under my foot, except there wasn’t anything there. There was, however, suspicion in my head. Dread enveloped my cat as she stood blaring at me, wonderous and still, seeming sensible and simultaneously senseless, without a look. It was as though her eyes cast shadows from the land of the dead, what I touched upon recently.

Yesterday I met a neighbour, an old woman who has always struck me as kind and sweet; she’s reminded me of my mother’s mother, whom I was near until she died a few years ago. The sorrow was like a wall. So I asked the woman, whose husband has been very ill for a while, how she was doing. “Horrible”, she replied; “My husband died last week.” And she looked as though there mere concept of smiling had vanquished from all and everywhere. She was beautiful. I couldn’t fathom her loss. I can’t. And she’s told me they were together for 50 years. Her face was kind in understanding me and Mia. We stood there. I told her I was sorry. I added that I couldn’t possibly touch upon what she felt, but told her that she is welcome to us, whenever and if she ever wants to come, regardless what. Regardless at what hour. I felt like that was the most non-giving sedative in the world. I wanted to console her. To tell her everything would be OK, but she’s, she’s probably more than twice my age and what can I know about consolation that she cannot get? Sure, being consoled is one thing. It’s always different in some ways, always something that is beyond words and it’s caring, reaching out always makes some difference, but I just…I felt like I was holding up a simple hulk when she’d ordered a wedding cake.

She’s dealing with her loss. Her son, she said, is an angel.

As she walked away she seemed utterly brittle, but at the same time, like the strongest battleship I have ever seen. I just don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know what it’s like to lose the one person that you have shared 50 years with. I don’t know. I don’t care about knowing or not knowing about that. The only thing I know is that I don’t ever want to learn about it. I want to shy away from it. It may just be, that the most egoistic thing I’ve ever felt is my desire to die before Love.

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Movies I've watched recently:

  • Young & Beautiful (2013) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-08-10 20:42
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    This film is quite beautiful in more than one way. It weirdly reminds me of what Marilyn Manson said when interviewed in "Bowling For Columbine", when Michael Moore asked him what he'd say to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community: "I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did." Isabelle is the lead character in this film and as such, she leads. But not as much by talking constantly or doing a lot of extravagant stuff, as in most Hollywood-esque films; of course, Ozon's films aren't really Hollywood, thank Bog. She does as she pleases, and we're left to ponder her inner life, which is not spelled out to us. Her family life is interesting, especially where her mother and brother are concerned. Speaking of which, most of her relations with other people are interesting and her "reactions" to them left me interested a little longer. The scene where the bridge-with-the-locks is, to me, the least interesting and left a schmaltzy and redundant impression, yet all in all, the film works. Not one of Ozon's best, but definitely not one of his worst, and compared with other directors' works, this is a vital shot in the arm.

  • Ken Park (2002) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-07-20 20:51
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    Due to all the controversy that surrounded this film - where I live, in Sweden, posters that advertised the film were actually removed from subway carts as one could see a boy going down on a woman - I have somehow let that silliness seep into my mind; while watching this quite beautiful, mobile still life, I wondered exactly what it was, that made people go insane from this film. I mean, the sexuality is just part of human life, right? The start of the film - no spoilers here - was much more disturbing. Having written that, I really liked this film. It's written by Harmony Korine, which does give some details away. Young persons are on display, seemingly directed by dictator parents, possible exception being Tate, a person who yells at his grandmother and isn't the most sociable character. Interesting throughout, it's a bite of life and a good watch.

  • Inside the Smiths (Video 2007) - IMDb 1/10

    2014-07-20 18:41

    This is an extremely piss-poor version of events from The Smiths. It starts of with some kind of vampirical person swooshing all over a cemetery while no music by The Smiths will play (over any of the documentary). Joyce and Rourke aren't even recollecting interesting anecdotes; would have loved to hear Joyce's words regarding the famed court travesty where he won millions of pounds from Morrissey/Marr, but none of that is shown. The most interesting stuff in the documentary is pictures of Marr and Morrissey, and I am not lying. Everything is so amateurishly made, and the documentary is just embarrassing in the extreme. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

  • No Distance Left to Run (2010) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-07-19 18:41
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    Lovely filmed, a little warts 'n' all biography on the comeback of Blur, as Graham and Damon get together and start over again. Songs are meshed with old footage over a quite chronological timeframe. Recommended and lovely. "Tender" at Glastonbury is a high point.

  • Tommy (2014) - IMDb 1/10

    2014-07-13 19:54

    Started out interestingly, but the main character is so incredibly weak one may be deceived to think she's in a coma - but really (spoiler) she isn't. This is not a mystery movie either, where one is to guess how come this film got made in the first place; Ola Rapace is a fairly good actor, but I waited for someone to hand him some good lines. Or something good to do. And what about the kid? Not interesting, thank you. There's nothing really good about this film. Tommy's gone - and I can't wait to forget him.


Book reviews: “The Stranger”, “How To Talk To Girls At Parties”, “Jane and Serge”

Albert Camus' writing

The Stranger by Albert Camus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is straight-forward. A trip into the mind of a man, who acts and thinks like a stoic; his journey through life is simple, basically because he does what he wants and doesn’t care for much. He’s easily bored and seemingly steers away from what he’s not attracted to. He doesn’t even do a lot of “mandatory” stuff when he doesn’t want to.

Even though I like the descriptions in the book as well as the plot, it’s what’s not there which interests me most; explanations to the man’s behaviour are scarce, and this book is to me akin to Antonioni’s “L’Avventura”, where a clear plot is far from obvious, if even there.

All in all: short, concise and well-written. Highly interesting, mainly because it’s so post-modern.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties

How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Simple, sweet and short: a story of a 15-year-old boy who reminisces 30 years later, of a party he attended with a – seemingly – more attractive friend and what happened there. From the short story:

She stood out of the way, letting us enter. “There’s a kitchen in the back,” she said. “Put it on the table there, with the other bottles.” She had golden, wavy hair, and she was very beautiful. The hall was dim in the twilight, but I could see that she was beautiful. “What’s your name, then?” said Vic. She told him it was Stella, and he grinned his crooked white grin and told her that that had to be the prettiest name he had ever heard. Smooth bastard. And what was worse was that he said it like he meant it. Vic headed back to drop off the wine in the kitchen, and I looked into the front room, where the music was coming from. There were people dancing in there. Stella walked in, and she started to dance, swaying to the music all alone, and I watched her.

This was during the early days of punk. On our own record players we would play the Adverts and the Jam, the Stranglers and the Clash and the Sex Pistols. At other people’s parties you’d hear ELO or 10cc or even Roxy Music. Maybe some Bowie, if you were lucky. During the German exchange, the only LP that we had all been able to agree on was Neil Young’s Harvest, and his song “Heart of Gold” had threaded through the trip like a refrain: I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold. . . .

The music playing in that front room wasn’t anything I recognized. It sounded a bit like a German electronic pop group called Kraftwerk, and a bit like an LP I’d been given for my last birthday, of strange sounds made by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The music had a beat, though, and the half-dozen girls in that room were moving gently to it, although I only looked at Stella. She shone. Vic pushed past me, into the room. He was holding a can of lager. “There’s booze back in the kitchen,” he told me. He wandered over to Stella and he began to talk to her. I couldn’t hear what they were saying over the music, but I knew that there was no room for me in that conversation.

Worth the short read. It’s nostalgic without being sappy.

Jane and Serge

Jane and Serge. A Family Album by Andrew Birkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this photographic book, where Andrew Birkin – Jane’s brother and famed collaborator with Stanley Kubrick – has snapped a lot of pictures of Jane, her hubby Serge Gainsbourg and their children, friends and animals, in a variety of scenes, all quite family-oriented and hence not often public and drab. It’s a labour of love, this book; clad in plastic with postcards and a badge included, it’s sweet. Still, I’d have loved more text and more pictures to accompany this, but that’s just me.

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Last night I dreamt

Icy mountain

I was on a mountain top in the alps in connection with something that had to do with “Så mycket bättre” – a Swedish TV-show where music pop-stars collate and cry while eating and drinking – and I was high up on some mountain. E-Type was nearby, I knew this, and he wasn’t speaking. I knew I was in a tough place as I was afraid to move, knowing that I could slip of the narrow peaks where I was standing at any moment if I’d step a few millimetres off tangent.

E-Type was disappearing in the distance, and a wind blew past. I somehow knew my time had come, and that Mia was somewhere in the background, far off, safe. Knowing this calmed me, as the wind got hold of me. I slipped, fell and quickly tried to use my fingernails to claw onto a steep ledge which was all slippery, solid ice. I couldn’t catch on, so I fell. I yelled “I love you all, and I love Mia the most!” and I somehow knew I’d fall 2600 meters, and I thought of all I’d miss, all the accidents and wonders of life that I’d never experience, and the Loss of Mia, and I woke up, preturbed and distant from myself. Mia lay beside me, and I could breathe. Ten minutes after that, the alarm went off.

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My saved links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Three book reviews: “The Strangler Vine”, “Smålands mörker” and “In A Lonely Place”

The Strangler Vine

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a well-written first novel in a planned series of three, where young William Avery from England appears in India, under The Company, i.e. The East India Company. The year is 1837, and at the start Avery gets orders to follow an older, morose and eccentric man, Blake, in order to find a poet laureate, Mountstuart.

This is an adventure along the lines of Indiana Jones, Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle. The language is spot-on and the action is thrilling; the tempo holds throughout the book, and I really wanted to find out what was happening next.

All in all: an adventure, almost veering more towards the young adult way than towards older persons, but it’s a well-researched book, recommendable to all who like the above.

Smålands mörker

Smålands mörker by Henrik Bromander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Henrik Bromander’s books are often on the border of fiction and non-fiction; they’re about human life at the core, where Bromander rarely seems to care about the big, bombastic stuff that often make the core of the twists and turns of other persons’ novels. This is conversations, between the self and between people. Inner thoughts, controversies, boredom, war, politics, poetry, Morrissey and hate.

I love Bromander’s use of space in his stories. Even if there’s violence in a lot of his tales, there’s still reflection in nothing, in very well-used pauses where human existance lies, whether it be through his expression of depression, of protest, side-tracked stories of other people’s lives – as with Genet’s life as displayed in this book – he does this very well, and it makes the tempo of the book work excellently.

The main character in this book, Erik, creates a fanzine that’s published in the book. That’s also excellent, as are the views into his psyche where politics, love, sexuality, crime and art are concerned.

All in all: should be read by all.

In A Lonely Place

In a Lonely Place by Gregory Crewdson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The introduction for this collection of photographic series mentions David Lynch. Indeed, the pictures of persons next to houses in suburban USA envelop me in two ways: one, I’m captured by some visceral fear, and two, I think the pictures are completely normal.

The pictures grab me much like Lynch manages to make the everyday seem scary, as he did in “Twin Peaks” and “Blue Velvet”.

I didn’t like the other photo series in this book much, but the mentioned one’s very good indeed. The pictures take on a quality as though they are super-realistic paintings, not photographs.

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