Kafkaworld's Blog

January 17, 2010

Beautiful Kate

Filed under: books and reading — kafkaworld @ 5:07 am
Tags: , ,

I was looking forward to this movie because it was so well reviewed but I found it profoundly disturbing, and not for the reasons you might think.  I should have learned by now that any movies set in the outback involving white males is going to be terrifying.  It’s the rampant masculinity, untrammelled by any of the usual checks and balances which is never good news for women, children, animals or the weaker males.  Any time a movie is set in the Australian outback, I’m scared.  It’s more than likely going to be ugly.  Think of ‘Wake in Fright’, a movie hailed by stronger minded individuals as an Australian classic, but I have been haunted by the kangaroo hunting scene for decades.

A notable exception is ‘Samson and Delilah”, which is human and hopeful.  As I said, perhaps it’s just the whitefellas in the outback.  I hate ‘The Drover’s Wife’  as well, and ‘The Man from Snowy River’.  Why couldn’t they just let the colt from Old Regret go on its way?  Ah – it was worth 1000 pounds, I forgot.  So they have to get up a posse of idiots to yahoo round the bush putting the lives of themselves, their horses and assorted woldlife at risk.  Bastards.

On the other hand, what’s that other one? … “Clancy’s gone a drovin’ and we don’t know where he are”.  Cute, but I still blame the myth of the heroic Australian pioneers for putting me off male novelists for many years.  Women just weren’t there, apparently.  Even if they were, they never did anything heroic, like chopping down trees, shooting anything that moved or drinking themselves into a stupor.  Oops – my prejudices are showing again.

I shouldn’t be writing this while simultaneously watching bridge online, and arguing with HB about the merits of ironbark vs Canadian cedar shingles on the prospective gazebo which he hopes to build on top of the ugliest watertank in South East Queensland, if not the world.  Talk about multi-tasking.


January 10, 2010

Stationery Junkies Alert

Filed under: Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 6:41 am

I was in Brisbane on Friday cashing in my Christmas gift voucher from Folio Books.  In a terrible hurry, I didn’t have time for my usual meander through the arcades/book shops/coffee joints but while travelling through Broadway on the Mall at high velocity en route to the downstairs toilets, I was brought up short by a shop window full of STATIONERY which had not been there before.  Of course, I sidled in, did a very quick decko of what they were selling (lovely journals, notebooks, amusing pencils etc) so I could report back.  It’s called ‘Typo’, cute name, and I shall return.

And so to my lovely stash:

1.  Everyman’s edition of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke.  I recently read of this German poet who has influenced the reading/writing of somebody else I was reading about, so I dipped in and found it sympatico (thanks for this word Kellee, it has come in handy!).  I will share some later.

2.   ‘The Infinity of Lists’ by Umberto Eco.  A truly gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated, comprising intriguing lists and catalogues which I would never have bought (too expensive) without a gift voucher.

The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay

I found a list of the names of angels, and one of the names of demons.  I recommend these to anybody contemplating reproduction in the near future.  Do not, whatever you do, call your children Forcas, Scox or Zagam. These are all quite good names for dogs thought.  Finally, who would have guessed that Amy, Murmur, Vine and Wall were demons?

3.  Alice Munro, ‘The View from Castle Rock”.  About time I read this much loved Canadian author.  She is most famous for her short stories, but this is a fictionalized memoir which seems a good place to start.

4.  Suxanne Boccalette & Meredith Jones, “Trunk – Volume 1: Hair’.   I picked up this rather odd book because of the binding.  Then I noticed it has a forward by Lenny Henry.  Then I noticed it had beautiful photos and engravings.  Then I was in too deep and had to buy it.

5.  Not from Folio but my second favorite bookshop, Archives preloved books in Elizabeth Street; so handy to the Pancake Manor!  This book is as new, a hardback which I reckon had never been opened, a steal at $25.  ‘The Virago Book of 20th Century Fiction’ is a selection of excerpts from one writer (women only, being Virago) for each year of the 20th century.  In a very courageous move, they have omitted the wellknown siblings, Drabble and Byatt from their list.  I wouldn’t want to be in the editor’s shoes when this gets out.

We then went to see ‘It’s Complicated’ (it wasn’t) which is basically a food/house/garden fantasy about a 60 year old woman (Meryl Streep) who wears beautiful clothes and is able to have spontaneous sex with a man without wasting precious minutes popping out to the supermarket for lubricant.  Which reminds me, when is somebody going to do the obvious and put Streep and Depp into a romantic comedy together.  I might even buy the dvd – for rainy afternoons.

January 7, 2010


Filed under: books and reading — kafkaworld @ 3:12 am

HB has read James Joyce ‘s ‘Ulysses’ three times, and has reached page 536 on his fourth run through.  I have read page 1 once.  He loves that book.  I think he goes into a state of suspended animation as he reads and just lets the words flow over him.  I am incapable of reading in that manner.  Any word I don’t understand must be looked up in the dictionary, ideas must be analysed and, during my current read (A.S.Byatt’s ‘A Children’s Book’) copious notes on the relationships and links between far too many characters must be consulted as I can’t remember all their names from one page to the next.

Ramona Koval interviewed John Sutherland on his book ‘Magic Moments’ today on the Book Show.  He told a story about going to a library in his youth to read the then scandalous ‘Ulysses’.  Page 602 had been removed with a razor blade as it was deemed too immoral for young eyes.  Obviously, he went straight to a bookshop and read the offending page.  Obviously, so did I.  HB’s copy, being very well thumbed, has long ago lost it’s covers and, I feared, many of the offending pages but I was in luck.  It begins at page 47 and ends at 716!

Alas, my search for James Joyce porn came to nothing. Perhaps Ramona has a different edition, but I was diverted by this paragraph.

“What, reduced to their simplest reciprocal from, were Bloom’s thoughts about Stephen’s thoughts about Bloom and Bloom’s thoughts about Stephen’s thoughts about Bloom’s thoughts about Stephen?

He thought that he thought that he was not a jew whereas he knew that he knew that he knew that he was not”.

It struck me as redolent of what passes for journalism in these times of far too many words used to express far too few original ideas.  I really must try ‘Ulysses’ again.  Maybe I’m grown up enough to understand now.

January 6, 2010

The Age of Discretion – When will I reach it?

Filed under: love — kafkaworld @ 9:53 am
Tags: , ,

An embarrassing confession; I am totally besotted with Tim Minchin, not in an evil, stalker way, but in a dvd owning, gig attending relatively harmless way.

If I was talented, like Davida Allen, I would produce as series of erotic paintings as she did about Sam Neill, and people would be astonished at my brilliance and Tim would be my muse, not my pathetic fantasy.

But the ridiculous part is, I’m 60 and my “toilet bits” (a Minchinism) don’t work.  I could write reams about that alone and methods I have tried to improve the situation.  Incidentally, why don’t we hear more about elderly women’s sexuality in the Courier Mail?  There’s endless drivel about men and how important their penises are.  Can’t see what all the fuss is about myself.  But then I suspect that my obsession with Tim has little to do with sex.

So what’s love all about anyway? ‘What’s love but a second hand emotion’?   And what does that lyric mean?  When I was young with a body capable of physical sexual responses, sex was certainly involved in my relationships but that was never all or even most of what it was about.  Only  once in my life did I ever fall in love at first sight, and that was with a woman and it ended badly.  Well, not badly really.  Once I got to know her, I discovered my body had actually made a good choice for me, just not a very practical one.  But I really had no interest in one night stands or notches on bed posts.  For me, it’s all about brain sex, a growing  fascination with somebody’s mind.  So much so, that I’m barely able to recall what my nearest and dearest were wearing last time I saw them, or what colour their hair is this week.

This is, and will continue to be a burden as I’m obviously going to be susceptible to sudden intense infatuations until the day I die.  I did hope that when my body lost interest, so would I.  I was looking forward to becoming a decorously staid old lady, no longer in danger of  falling slowly but desperately in love and consequently behaving like a moony adolescent, a source of embarrassment to my children.

Back to Tim Minchin (about time!) , who has done nothing to deserve my adoration except to be a witty wordsmith, a talented musician and heartbreakingly vulnerable.  Lest you feel this is all very unfair on my HB*, he is currently fixated on Kristen Schaal, who appears in ‘Flight of the Conchords’.  Could it be  coincidence that, for Christmas, I bought him a Tim dvd and he bought me the Conchords second season? Married people get so devious after the first 30 years!  So we’ve had a couch conference and, to avoid unseemly squabbles, we watch one episode of the Conchords followed by one Tim song and everybody’s happy.

On second thoughts, perhaps these elderly affaires de coeur aren’t so bad.  At least they keep us off the streets where we could cause real problems.

* HB=husband.  I can’t be doing with the term ‘partner’.  It sounds much too business like, and we are definitely beyond the GF/BF stage.

January 1, 2010


Filed under: life — kafkaworld @ 10:00 am

After due consideration, I have made two.

1.  Write something every day.

Shopping lists don’t count, no matter how fanciful and beautifully constructed.  The more you write, the easier it comes I have been informed by those who should know.   Also, I have so much inner dialogue going on, much of it judgmental and dreary.  Inner dialogue is much better out than in.  Then I can tear it up, or set fire to it, or post it to all my enemies and people I wish to irritate.

2.  Unclutter a drawer every day week month 6 months.

Note that  I have learned not to put too much pressure on myself with resolutions!  I don’t think I have ever kept one in living memory, but these don’t seem too arduous.

If I do two drawers in January, I’ll have 2010 all wrapped up February. Happy days!

Good luck with your resolutions if you have been courageous enough to make any.

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