Kafkaworld's Blog

May 30, 2010

The Nightingale and the Rose

Filed under: life,love — kafkaworld @ 8:08 am
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This is a story by Oscar Wilde.  I heard it on ABC Classic FM this morning, read by Stephen Fry.  It broke my heart.  If there is a sadder tale in the universe, I have yet to hear it.

It’s the story of a nightingale, who sacrifices her life so that a mooning student can give a beautiful red rose to a young woman who has promised to go with him if he is able to produce a rose for her.  The nightingale feels sorry for him and consequently dies so that a barren frostbitten rose bush is able to bloom.

This is bad enough, but worse is to come.  The student sees the perfect red rose, plucks it and takes it to the girl who rejects him again, remarking that she now has another admirer who has brought her jewels which are much more valuable than a mere rose.  Words cannot describe how much I despised her for her careless, arrogant cruelty.

This is bad enough but the real heartbreaker is yet to come.  The student, who was obviously not as besotted as we thought, wanders back to the library to become a great philosopher.  On the way, he throws the rose, that beautiful perfect rose, ruby red with the life blood of the little nightingale, out into the street where it lands in the gutter and is crushed by the wheel of a passing cart.  Surely the nightingale deserved better than that.

But after I’d finished sobbing into an old tissue I found in my pocket, I thought about the times people have given me something wonderful, which may have cost them a lot in time, money or energy.  And I’ve said “Thank you very much” without much thought.  It’s so easy to let these moments slip by.  I really need to be mindful of what is done for me, what is given to me and treasure the efforts expended on my behalf.  So I’ll start now.  Thanks Trevor, for making macaroni cheese for dinner.  It’s quite fiddly, what with the bechamel sauce, cheese grating and nutmeg grinding but what better food could there be for a cold Sunday night, sitting on the couch watching Dr Who.  And what a fabulous way to say “I love you”.

May 13, 2010

This really is good news

Filed under: books and reading,Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 7:37 am
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Forget about miracle cures, winning lotto or being awarded a Nobel Prize, because all that pales into insignificance compared to this excellent news for writers.  According to those who know about these things (the Book Show on Radio National), looking up synonyms in the thesaurus is no longer immoral, debauched or unprincipled.  How much simpler, direct and resolvable life will be.  Instead of sitting for hours, desperately, despondently and despairingly trying to recall another way of saying immoral, simpler or desperately, I can just look it up.

Thank you important and wise people who make up the rules of writing.  Thesaurus used to be a dirty word and using one just showed what a pathetically small vocabulary you had.  But now, it’s simply an aide de memoire.  Why do I keep breaking into French when I can’t speak a word of the language.  Possibly I enjoy making an idiot of myself on the internet. However, to continue.  It is now assumed that all the words are securely stored in the brain, but sometimes our information retrieval processes become faulty, whether due to age or alcohol is immaterial.  The thesaurus is deemed to be simply a tool to assist the struggling wordsmith.

I may be alone in my joy, but how wonderful, awesome and and sublime that I can now, at my leisure, never use one word when three would be perfectly adequate, sufficient and fulsome.  Perhaps I should cease, stop and bail out now.  I fear I’m becoming verbose, longwinded and tedious.  But what fun it was!

May 12, 2010

Robin Hood – Riding Through the Glen

Filed under: Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 8:22 am


Richard Greene

Russell Crowe??  Please don’t mention him in the same breath as Robin Hood, and I mean the Real Robin Hood, the ever courteous and always charming Richard Greene.  He was rarely seen without a wry smile playing about his delightful dimples.  I was 7 years old and he was my first ever true love.   How I loathed Maid Marian, barely woman enough for a random Merry Man, let alone the adorable Robin.  And now they’re trying to foist Russell on me.  Well bollocks to that.  Nobody, absolutely nobody wears the Lincoln Green like Richard.

Although I do have a soft spot for Jonas Armstrong, currently appearing as a rip-roaring Robin on ABC 2.

Robin anyone?

He’s just so temptingly young that I could eat him, and possibly have his babies.

Which brings us to Maid Marian.  Stand out favorite is Lucy Griffiths, also from the recent BBC series.  Or she was, until some boozed up TV executive nobody had a brain explosion and killed her off!!  Really, what were they thinking?  And don’t give me any PR spin about ‘moving on to other projects’.  There is a humungous LG shaped hole in the current episodes where Maid Marian used to be.

Lucy Griffiths

Being a long time admirer of Cate Blanchett, I have very high hopes for her as a feisty, otherworldly Maid Marian.  I will be going to the movie for that reason only.

Of course every gallant hero must be opposed by an equally gallant, but totally evil, villainous blackguard. Step forward Keith Allen.

Keith Allen as the dastardly sheriff

Keith plays Robin’s would-be nemesis with a gusto and swagger which has me barracking for him more often than not.  I know that’s wrong but what can you do with such an irrepressibly beguiling Sheriff of Nottingham.  Alan Rickman, who played this role in the regrettable Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, runs a close second but doesn’t have the seductive virility and just plain joie de vivre displayed by Allen.  While looking for a suitable photo, I was not surprised to read that he (Allen) has a distinctly edgy approach to acting, and likes to contribute something of his own to the script.  This would explain why Jonas Armstrong looks more anxious than necessary during some of their exchanges.  Anything could happen. He’s also done time in Borstal and Pentridge; not a man to be messed about!  There is another anecdote here about what he did once to get back at Max Bygraves.  All entertaining stuff.

There are two mythical English heros who have caught my imagination in childhood, and continued to obsess me throughout my life.  Robin Hood is one, the other is Arthur, the once and future king.  They share the characteristics of legendary heroes: gallantry, courage, unselfishness and a willingness to die to protect those they love.  Quite irresistible really.

Being a confirmed feminist, I feel it has been remiss of me not to find a woman to slot in here.  There are the saints I suppose, but I remember them mostly as passive objects of other peoples violence and torture, which isn’t quite the same.  Joan of Arc perhaps, but she simply took on the role of unquestioning obedience to the French military, slaughtering the English on demand.  She certainly faced her death very bravely, but why?  All suggestions pointing me in the direction of heroic women gratefully received.


May 9, 2010

Mothers’ Day

Filed under: family,Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 1:57 am
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Mothers’ Day morning (and I do hope that apostrophe is in the correct place.  Is it a day for Mother, or a day for Mothers?) and my gentleman friend hands me a card addressed to ‘The Mother of my Cherubs’.  Having sniffled a snuffle and wiped away a tiny tear, I recall that our cherubs, now in their thirties, are large and robustly hairy/muscular males.  Only their father and I can still glimpse the delicately pearly fluttering of their baby wings and bathe in the rosy aura that precedes them when they come to visit.  We mothers will always be able to divine the cherubic traces in our children, no matter that old age begins to sully and soften their features as the years pass.

Just in case you thought we had been totally overcome by soppiness this morning, let me share with you that the card itself was totally inappropriate and had absolutely nothing to do with Mothers’ Day.  It involved  warm chocolate pudding  but had nothing to do with dining.  Let’s just leave it at that.

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