Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The new Sirenia Digest came out a couple days ago, Sonya recommended a web comic to me called Narbonic, and I realised I hadn't been reading much of Catch-22, so I decided to devote as much of yesterday as possible to reading. I finally broke down at 1am and watched Charlie Chaplin's The Circus again, but mostly yesterday was a pleasant reading day.

I'm really bad at reading web comics, something I'm quite ashamed of, especially in light of the support my own web comic's received from nice web comic makers like RMG and the folks at Yamara--both examples of web comics I've read some of but not all of, in fact I've yet to read any entire web comic, except Scott McCloud's very short pieces. Oh, and I think I've read all of Return to Sender, but that one's short and unfinished, so it doesn't count.

But Sonya exerted intense feminine wiles, overwhelming me with the beautiful mystery that is woman, so that I was powerless to refuse on the grounds of not merely my hormones but also due to the shear awesome panoply of sensuality and sexuality as it may be transmitted though the internet tubes (her exact words were "Start here and read"). So far I've managed to read the first ten, which leaves, oh, just six hundred forty five to go. But it is good so far. There's a clear Futurama influence (the show's already even been explicitly mentioned), and it's got nice mad scientist and doomsday device humour.

So many of the things I've been reading lately make me wish I could slow time down. The pace of Narbonic makes me feel like I can be satisfied with one or two pages a day, and Catch-22 is like a more laconic and inert Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I can appreciate the sort of exquisitely crafted humour in just a couple paragraphs, but then it's a little obliterated by the exquisitely crafted humour of the next couple paragraphs. It almost feels like reading good poetry--I'm also currently reading Sonya's Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, and I find I'm deeply satisfied by just a single poem, so I've been going through the book pretty slowly. It gives me something of the feeling I had when reading books as a kid, when a single novel would seem to fill up months, making a consistent alternate reality for me to jump to. Yes, friends, density is good.

I didn't get very much done yesterday--I mainly did a lot of character sketches. But I'm very happy with several of them.

And I'd like to say happy birthday to Robyn, though I think she's still sore at me because I completely pwned her in an argument we had about censorship a few months back. But I don't hold it against her . . .

Monday, June 25, 2007

I've slacked off quite a bit so far to-day, choosing to watch the 1939 Alfred Hitchcock movie Jamaica Inn at three on TCM--I can't tape movies anymore because the cable's gotten weird in this room.
Jamaica Inn's not bad at all. It has beautiful, expressionistic sets that look half Disney and half Murnau. Hitchcock's pitch perfect talent for editing and pacing was fully there, and Maureen O'Hara, in her first role, has never looked better. The best part of the movie, though, is Charles Laughton as Sir Humphrey, who comes off as a sort of corrupt and finally insane caricature of Oscar Wilde--or, perhaps, for the covetous yet cruel way he approaches Maureen O'Hara's character, a dark avatar for Hitchcock himself. The movie's based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, and the story has the broad strokes favouring the female character, having her making rebellious decisions that often end up saving the day where no-one thinks it can be saved. But a lot of these decisions seem to come from only barely logical motives, while Laughton emerges as a charming and intriguingly complicated and corrupt nobleman.

I watched Keith Olbermann after that, who I think has accurately predicted the end of the Harry Potter books.

Well, I supposed I'd better go and do some grocery shopping before getting some writing done. But before I do, is anyone else irritated and perplexed by all the love a xenophobic, capitalist homophobe named Ron Paul has been getting?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


And my favourite of the numerous parodies;

A much better day for writing to-day. I felt pretty solidly wrapped up in the characters, and their motives and communication techniques felt like they were nicely weaving. So at around 5pm, I got some food at Del Taco and went to Tim's, where the computer I normally play Oblivion on is cracking up in interesting, often amusing ways.

For a while, the whole computer'd randomly been rebooting. That doesn't happen anymore, but oddly enough, things have started to get weird within the game. I loaded one game that I'd saved during a clear day only to find it was suddenly night time during a heavy rainstorm. My character was still in a vineyard south of Skingrad where I'd left her, only she'd completely lost her body, and all the people were gone except for a lone guard by the town gate, and all of his clothes were missing.

So I started a new game--the game starts off in a dungeon where you join the Emperor (voiced by Patrick Stewart) and his small retinue of guards as they're trying to escape some mysterious assassins called the Mythic Dawn. Everything was going fine until the Emperor fell through the floor. The guards and myself soon followed and soon the four of us were freefalling through empty space before automatically teleporting back to the dungeon where of course we immediately fell through the floor again. All the while, the Mythic Dawn were scrambling around madly still trying to fight us.

So now I'm back here and maybe I'll work on some character sketches.

By the way, happy birthday Spooky.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Too tired again. Lost some sleep last night because my uncle came by to drill stuff into the other side of one of my walls. It could have been worse--yesterday my grandmother wanted him to tear the wall out before he finally managed to convince her it was actually not necessary. I'm still not sure she won't try to hire someone else to do it. But at least I'm out of the woods for the moment, and I'm daring to hope I can get things together for submissions. Comic publisher sites I'm looking at seem to want outlines for proposed series or graphic novels, as well as scripts, so I'm working on a second script for this new comic. Only I'm so out of it to-day that mostly what I'm writing lacks all kinds of energy. I know well what I want to happen, but it's got to happen in a more interesting manner than what my fingers are tapping into the keyboard.

I'm not sure how most writers work at this sort of thing, but to have consistent themes and discernable arguments, I tend to tell myself what I think the themes are going to be early on, then let them sort of drizzle on my brain and try not to think about them, so they kind of seep out naturally. For Boschen and Nesuko, I wrote the first chapter without knowing anything about the rest of the series, then analysed the chapter and thought about what issues I'd presented myself with, and the whole series ended up reflecting those sort of naturally.

Anyway, what else have I to say . . . Oh, I liked Hostel: Part II. Better than the first one, though I liked how the first one forced you to root for an unlikeable protagonist. The new movie's final act is much better than the first movie's, which actually became a little dull.

The setup is good in Part II as well--I liked how Roth manipulated the audiences emotions along with the three young women, who are at first a little afraid of the creepy nude model lady, but then find her a welcome companion on an unpleasant train ride. The dialogue and series of events in the train car are so perfectly orchestrated, using each character credibly, and never seeming forced.

Most of the positive reviews for the movie talk about the other branch of the plot, where we see things from the perspective of two of the would-be torturer/murderers as they first bid on the girls, and then become members of the nefarious international organisation that runs the market. They're both created as full characters with decently established psychological motives for wanting to torture and murder people. Roger Bart plays Stuart, the slightly more sympathetic of the two, and his conflict is interesting for its nuance, but Richard Burgi, the other guy, also ends up being somewhat interesting for his seeming simplicity, and we're forced to realise guys like these really aren't far-fetched at all.

I also liked the return of the semi-feral gang of street children and I wondered how Heather Matarazzo can hang upside down without her face turning red.

Matarazzo plays Lorna, a nerdy, rather inexperienced character who comes off as a believable shallow introvert, something it seems like I don't see very often in fiction. I sort of wondered if the movie wasn't setting her up as too much of a joke, but then, part of the fun of these movies is seeing people getting punishment just slightly worse than they deserve.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I saw this trailer for the new Invasion of the Body Snatchers when I saw Hostel: part 2 yesterday;

"The Invasion" isn't half as interesting a title as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (at less than half the words). I hate the inclusion of the kid. But I like Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Roger Rees, so I'm a little hopeful. I wonder if there'll be overt attempts to modernise the political allegory aspects of the story.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday was about printing my twenty three page comic thing. Sixty dollars for ink cartridges. Really? I had this idea of renting storage space the other day. That's a no go, because it's something like 85 dollars a month for a 5 x 5 space. But of course I had to give my phone number to a web site to get quotes--why does it have to be a secret?--and even though I specified that I preferred to be contacted by e-mail, some joker saw fit to call me at 10am.

Me; "I said I preferred to be contacted by e-mail."

Guy; "We already sent an e-mail."

Me; "Yeah. Was I supposed to reply to that?"

Guy; "Er, well, call us if you're interested."

Me; "I'm not going to call you."

So I think I'll send this comic off to publishers, and also bring copies of it with me to Comic-Con, as well as select pages from Boschen and Nesuko and, if Sonya and Caitlin don't mind, some pages from Moving Innocent and the Nar'eth comics. Maybe now would be a good time to do the sketches for The Lay of Sindeseldaonna I promised the latter lady.

And why've I been silent the past couple days? Wasn't I just last week ruing my lack of internet access? Well, I spend a lot more time reading than contributing to this ball of fortune twine. But also I've been exchanging e-mails with Sonya, and if I have her attention, why should I care about anyone else?

I've been going to sleep and waking up about two hours earlier, a side effect from Stupid Week. It's weird--I feel like a bumper car in the koi pond. I'm getting around, I feel like I'm accomplishing something, but I also vaguely feel like I'm not at optimum performance and I'm also sort of intruding on the routines of others. Well, that's how I'd feel driving a bumper car in a koi pond.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I've just seen Paprika. I recommend you see it too. It's absolutely incredible, one of the best anime movies I've ever seen.

There are so many things I could say about it, so many ways I could talk about it. It's a movie about duality; male and female, reality and imagination, free market and altruism, action and complacency . . . and how those dualities relate or coexist or are more connected than we might suspect. Or the ways in which people arbitrarily might connect the sets to suit their own goals or psychological compulsions.

It's a movie that successfully combines the Sci-Fi psychology of Neon Genesis Evangelion with the sort of neo-mythological qualities of Hayao Miyazaki movies. It's about the crisis of individuality being lost in Japan's groupthink oriented society--a theme I'm seeing in increasing prominence in anime.* And Paprika is all this in a package of charming and interesting characters, as well as extraordinary visuals. See this movie.

Oh, and Devin Faraci really is either a dolt, or for some reason he really doesn't want to like anime--the explanations for everything he complained about as being vague or utterly inexplicable are actually extremely obvious.

*There's a plot thread that strongly reminded me of Gendo Ikari's Human Instrumentality Project from Evangelion.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I just found out Paprika stars my favourite seiyu, none other than Megumi Hayashibara. I fucking have to see this movie now. For those who don't know, she's the voice of girl type Ranma (Ranma 1/2), Lina Inverse (Slayers), Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), and a few bazillion other anime characters. Also, this;

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm back. Extremely tired, but back. Though who knows what the future holds.

Living without easy access to internet was surprisingly strange. If anything, it felt like I'd travelled back in time eight years, when I mostly hung out at the mall or the college, sitting in my car drawing, writing, or reading. An untethered little existence, and I have to admit I identified very much with Judi Dench's character in Notes on a Scandal, which I watched a few days ago*.

I truly didn't know if I was ever going to get this computer back, and so I begged people I know for use of their computers to work on my comic. But it was as if the gods were actively trying to deny me internet access. First I tried my mother's house, and I worked on my comic for one day there. However, her internet connexion just suddenly went on the fritz and was only there in spurts. And after that day, my mother, who seems to regard me as a walking virus when it comes to her computer, wouldn't let me touch the thing again because she was convinced I'd somehow caused the problems.

My next resort was Tim, on whose second computer, which is hooked to a widescreen television, I normally play Oblivion. Things seemed absolutely fine on his computer, and I got a lot of work done, except yesterday it started crapping out and restarting randomly. First just programmes, but then soon the whole shebang. Internet usage is somewhat awkward there anyway, as my weak eyes are too far away to comfortably read the tiny text. So I'm very glad to have this thing again. I know, it's only been a few days, hardly even enough time to relieve anyone reading of their Setsuled-fatigue, but it seemed like an eternity to me, especially since I missed Zombie Apocalypse Day.

*Sorry, Sonya, but I thought the Philip Glass music was perfect. I thought it brought a wonderful stream of tension--it knotted my gut.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Well, my computer's in pieces and I don't know how soon I'll be able to tackle restoring it, and I don't know how long it'll take me to sort out the tangle of cables and wires when I do have the opportunity. So correspondence with me will be difficult. Just so everyone knows. I'm typing this on my sister's laptop and this keyboard's hurting my wrists.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm tried and irritated. More irritated than tired. To-day has been spent moving all of my things into the hall or the garage or my car. The hall's littered with huge stacks of movies, CDs, bags, and books, and I still have a ton of all those things to move and, for the most part, I have no idea where I'm going to put them. This is all, of course, because of a paranoid fantasy that's taken hold of my grandmother, who now roams the house wearing a mask because she's afraid of some kind of mould. It's one of those days where I very much wish I lived in my own place, or at least with someone I got along with.

Thank the gods for my iPod--I spent a lot of time backing up files onto it, because who knows if I'm going to be able to put the computer back together properly. I wish I just had a quiet, soundproof, subterranean pod where I could work on my comics, watch movies, read, and no-one would pester me with their stupid, meaningless tasks. Or a space station. That'd be better, because then I could have windows if I wanted them.

Man, I can scarcely believe how much stuff I've to shift . . .

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well), is a 1960 Akira Kurosawa film noir starring Toshiro Mifune.

And here I'm already talking about a transposition of a Shakespeare play that I like. In this case, it's Hamlet, though just barely, and I believe one of the reasons Kurosawa's Shakespeare movies work so well is that he's not afraid to change a lot of the content in order to suit the new setting, avoiding dissonance between dialogue and visuals. Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru departs from the source material even more drastically than Ran and Kumo no su jo, with varying degrees of success.

The movie is also an indictment of corporate corruption, and the corruption that breeds in the relationships between private companies and government institutions, which, in these days of scandals involving the likes of Halliburton and increased attention on corporate lobbyists, gives the movie a certain timeliness. Of course, Kurosawa was referencing the prevalent corporate corruption existing in 1960 Japan, and the grafts dealt with in the movie seem somewhat less grandiose. Iwabuchi, despite being the movie's Claudius, is only vice president of Public Corp., and the president himself is seen only briefly at the beginning of the movie, though it's implied that he is in on the kickback scheme between Public Corp. and a company called Dairyu.

Mifune plays Koichi Nishi (perhaps an ancestor of Nareth Nishi) in the Prince Hamlet role. His father was Furuyu, a midlevel employee of Dairyu who was in on one of the schemes between Dairyu and Public Corp. and was coerced into committing suicide by Iwabuchi and his subordinates, Moriyama* and Shirai. Furuya leapt from the seventh story of a Dairyu office building, and Nishi, who was Furuya's illegitimate son, changes his name and marries Iwabuchi's daughter Yoshiko in order to get close to the three bureaucrats and exact revenge.

You can see already some of the departures from the play, a few of which work perfectly fine, while others do not. In my mind, the biggest problem is Yoshiko, who, forced to carry water (no pun intended) for both Ophelia and Gertrude, loses credibility of character under the weight of a little too much melodrama. Though the problem really may have been that Kurosawa was simply no good at romance, or even, really, at relationships. Kurosawa's talent for creating characters seems to come from superficial introductions and interactions that somehow paint truly deep and elaborate studies. Reading again bits of Hamlet to-day, I was struck by the scene in Gertrude's bedroom where Hamlet tries to convince Gertrude to acknowledge the truth of what Claudius had done to her previous husband, and what Gertrude was guilty of for marrying Claudius. After Hamlet has accidentally killed Polonius, the ghost of Hamlet's father appears to sharpen the prince's "blunted purpose", and Hamlet finds that his mother does not see the ghost.

I was reminded of something I said to Caitlin recently about her Daughter of Hounds, that, "it works as a meditation on innocence and the relationship between perception and reality—that perception has less effect on reality than some people would like to think." Gertrude cannot see the ghost because she cannot acknowledge to herself what she knows to be the truth.

In Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru, there is no ghost and no similar scene with Gertrude. Instead, Kurosawa introduces a character named Wada, a Dairyu employee who, like Nishi's father, is persuaded to commit suicide for the good of the company--the concern being that Wada would eventually crack under police interrogation. Iwabuchi, Moriyama, and Shirai have effectively used Wada's feelings of guilt to their own ends. Wada took kickbacks, but he's still a decent enough person that is he is not willing to drag the company down with him and ruin the lives of other employees.

Wada goes to a Public Corp. construction site, and Kurosawa shoots his lonely figure isolated among trails of mist and ominous mountains of dirt. Before Wada can kill himself, Nishi intervenes and reveals himself as an agent of vengeance for the first time in the movie.

Mifune's packed into crisp business attire and given conservative eyeglasses and tightly slicked haircut, and the big guy from this point on seems like a volcano always on the edge of eruption, Mifune's natural fire steaming around the seams of his improbably subdued costume.

He fakes Wada's death and takes him under his wing as accomplice. After a brilliant scene where Nishi and Wada watch Wada's funeral from a distance while Nishi plays tape of Moriyama and Shirai joking with each other about how they convinced Wada to commit suicide, Wada becomes Nishi's reluctant ally. He also becomes the ghost.

In one, wicked act of the movie, Nishi allows Wada to be seen twice by Shirai after Nishi has already manoeuvred the situation so that it appears to Iwabuchi and Moriyama that Shirai stole some illicit funds, the whereabouts of which only Shirai and Wada knew. Thus is created a scenario where Shirai is desperately trying to convince his cohorts that he's seen Wada, and at first Iwabuchi and Moriyama think Shirai's trying to weasel out of stealing the money, and then eventually they think he's lost his mind. Iwabuchi and Moriyama can't see the ghost, because it's easier to assume Shirai's double-crossed them than it is to think Wada may have survived. So, in a sense, this is similar to the spirit of the scene with Gertrude, though it lacks the delicacy and the straightforwardness.

When Yoshiko learns what sort of man her father truly is later in the movie, she can't blame Nishi for wanting to take revenge, though she herself can't hate her father. There's internal conflict, but nothing like the complexity of Gertrude's dilemma.

As Ophelia, Yoshiko works a little better, and though Nishi, while menacing in a wild way, is clearly not mad, Kurosawa does a good job of portraying the unnatural state of mind a quest for vengeance can be, and the unnatural effects it can have on a relationship. Nishi, unlike Hamlet with Ophelia, clearly loves Yoshiko, but cannot bring himself to consummate the love because he ostensively married her only to get close to her father.

Unfortunately, Kurosawa decided he needed the two characters to come to an understanding, and I can see why he would want to. Ophelia is a compelling character, and wondering about how she and Hamlet might have ended up together has some of the intrigue of wondering about what it would have been like if Scottie and Madeleine had ended up together in Vertigo. But relieving that tension here, as it surely would in Vertigo, serves to deflate this aspect of the story and we're left with some fairly mundane soap opera melodrama. Though, aside perhaps for its density, this really is the movie's only flaw, in my opinion.

The ending is more bleak than Hamlet's, as it sees Iwabuchi discovering Nishi's plot, tricking his daughter into revealing the man's location, and hiring some yakuza to kill him.** The movie ends with Iwabuchi victorious, talking to Public Corp.'s president and saying goodnight, only to realise it was actually daytime, which leads to the movie's final line where Iwabuchi says he confused night and day.

And this is an important point about corporate corruption, and it's one tied to the idea of self-delusion. We see Iwabuchi at home in one scene, in the backyard with apron and mittens, and several times in the movie we sense these guys aren't just looking out for themselves, but their families as well. The bad things they do mostly have nebulous consequences, but the stakes for themselves and their loved ones are high enough that they do terrible things out of a sense of self preservation.

It's little wonder that Kurosawa immediately followed this movie with Yojimbo, of which he wrote, "Here we are, weakly caught in the middle, and it is impossible to choose between evils. Myself, I've always wanted to somehow or other stop these senseless battles of bad against bad, but we're all more or less weak--I've never been able to. And that is why the hero of this picture is different from us. He is able to stand squarely in the middle and stop this fight. And it is this--him--that I thought of first."

Basically, Sanjuro is everything Nishi needed to be but wasn't. Sanjuro's purpose is not blunted because he is, as is observed in Sanjuro, a sword never in its sheath.

*Moriyama's played by Takashi Shimura as the sort of fellow he was up against in Ikiru.

**There is a Laertes character, who functions almost precisely like Laertes, except in that he never fights Nishi.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

To-day I managed to buy two nice four piece sets of luggage for twenty dollars each. That's around forty dollars total. And why? Because to-day I learned the carpet's getting torn out in this room, too, and I'm reminded again that I don't really live here, I just stay here. Before Monday, I need somehow to get all of my things out of the way. The carpet destroying noise has already been chiselling my sleep time away and I have this weird feeling that if I were properly rested, I'd notice something critical about my situation and actions to-day I'm completely missing now. Maybe several somethings. All I can seem to think about now is that I need less sodium in my diet, while I run around alternately forgetting if I'm dealing with my room, the missing driver's license, or my comic.

Opening for Morrissey on Monday, I forgot to mention, was a young woman named Kristeen Young. At the time, I thought she was decent, though not incredible. I did like her costume (one of many nice costumes of hers, as I see from YouTube, though the San Diego performance isn't available). I thought she sounded a little like Switchblade Symphony. I was surprised to read on her Wikipedia entry that she's had training as an opera vocalist, that she's worked with David Bowie, and that some of her albums were produced by Tony Visconti. Maybe one needs to hear her studio recordings to truly appreciate her. I do like the title Breasticles for her third album.

Tired. My grandmother's having the carpet torn out upstairs. Not really for any reason, if the truth were acknowledged, as it so infrequently is. It's noisy around here.

I seem to have lost my driver's license. Probably at the bank, which is the only place I ever take it out. It was another noisy, sleepless day last week, and I was probably too tired to notice when the girl forgot to hand the ID back to me. Yesterday I learned the bank shreds lost IDs after three days. I guess simply calling me would have been bad form. So now I've a DMV appointment at 3:45pm to-morrow, which ought to be a jolly good time.

Only six hours spent colouring yesterday. The day before I believe I spent around nine hours. All together, I must have coloured one and a half pages. Suddenly it doesn't seem terribly realistic that I can draw, ink, and colour a monthly comic, at least not at my current quality standard. But at least I'm going to be able to put together a very nice portfolio for Comic-Con next month. The Morrissey concert was right behind the convention centre, and walking past the big empty place brought back good memories. It really needs to be an all-year thing. Less a Comic-Con than a Comic-Embassy.

Well, I'd better put my limited cognisance to what use I can . . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My favourite Onion article of recent weeks;

Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time, Place Shakespeare Intended.

Not that I mind people putting Shakespeare in weird contexts. But I think it's too rarely acknowledged how very rarely a director actually accomplishes anything more than distraction with the technique.

Though I still wish I'd seen Orson Welles' Haitian Macbeth.
There've been a lot of spiders around here lately. Especially cellar spiders. There's a big one crawling up my bathroom wall right now. I watched her make her way for a few moments, and she fell twice. Last night, I found one in bed with me while I was reading. I carried him outside.

I was reading Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, a book of poems by Sonya Taaffe. It's been a nice read so far--the poems have mostly been rather overtly erotic.

Of course, with this spider talk I ought to mentioned the book I just finished, Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, which was quite enjoyable. It's family relationship comedy in the context of a modern world influenced by the reality of ancient folktales. Where Gaiman's American Gods was about a sort of apocalypse in the same world, Anansi Boys is more just a story of gods being gods and making their mischief with mortals, something I really respect. In most fantasy fiction, particularly in the movies, it's normally expected that each successive story be about a larger calamity. I wish more writers realised that it's not the size of an explosion that makes a good story.

I still have a healthy stack of books to read. Sonya recommended to me an order in which to read them, and it looks like I'll be reading Catch-22 next.

Ah, I think I ought to mention that I went to a Morrissey concert on Sunday and that it was fucking great. The concert was held at the embarcadero, and to get to it I walked through seaport village next to water and a variety of boats, including a replica of a 19th century yacht called the America.

I met my sister and two of her friends at the concert and the four of us managed to be only about five people away from the stage, which was pretty damned close considering we were packed like sardines and I couldn't even lift my arms to clap. When Morrissey finally came out, the press of screaming human bodies around me reaching for the cool fellow onstage was amazing. I really don't think I could expect an experience closer to seeing a god in my lifetime. He's Morrissey, you know.

Unfortunately, Moz wasn't so happy with the sound system, and he continually complained about it throughout the show. "The sound like a bleating goat you hear," he said, "I'm afraid is my singing voice. I promise you I sound much better in the bath."

He opened with "The Queen is Dead", and the lyrics that normally go "She said, 'I know you and you cannot sing,' I said, 'That's nothing, you should hear me play piano,'" Sunday night went, "'I know you and you cannot sing,' I said, 'Of course I can't sing.'"

The very performance:

I think he may've been slightly upset that his own voice often wasn't audible through audience singing along. He closed with "How Soon is Now?" and the audience's singing was so overpowering, Morrissey left halfway through the song and never came back, forgoing an encore, much to the very loud displeasure of the audience--he'd only been onstage for about an hour. But it was still great, and even that final act was so deliciously Morrissey.

And I loved how he tried to incite mischief. "When you bought your ticket I bet you didn't expect an army of security men in front of the stage," he said at one point, referring to the row of red-shirted men, "No fun."

Of course, during his next song, "I Will See You in Far Off Places," someone immediately managed to climb onstage, earning a comment from Morrissey, "That's the most exciting thing to happen all night."

It was a good set, and his voice sounded perfect, when it was audible. I was surprised to hear "The National Front Disco," which must be completely unintelligible to most American and Mexican fans (I'd say about two thirds of the people in the audience were Mexican). He also performed "Irish Blood, English Heart," changing the lines, "I've been dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of Labour and Tories, and spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell," with, "I've been dreaming of a time when Americans are sick to death of Democrats and Republicans and Republicans, and spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell." I'm not sure how much he thought ahead on that one, but it's interesting to think about the current American political landscape carrying on the tradition of Oliver Cromwell.

Sunday was overcast and there was sea on either side of the stage, so one song was all too appropriate;

Friday, June 01, 2007

Actual conversation with my mother yesterday:

Me: "Going to the movies with a guy seems like a waste."

My mother: "That's kind of sexist."

Me: "Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with women. I just like them better."

On The Difficulty Of Conjuring Up A Dryad (mp3)
Sylvia Plath

Ravening through the persistent bric-à-brac
Of blunt pencils, rose-sprigged coffee cup,
Postage stamps, stacked books' clamour and yawp,
Neighbourhood cockcrow—all nature's prodigal backtalk,
The vaunting mind
Snubs impromptu spiels of wind
And wrestles to impose
Its own order on what is.

‘With my fantasy alone,’ brags the importunate head,
Arrogant among rook-tongued spaces,
Sheep greens, finned falls, ‘I shall compose a crisis
To stun sky black out, drive gibbering mad
Trout, cock, ram,
That bulk so calm
On my jealous stare,
Self-sufficient as they are.’

But no hocus-pocus of green angels
Damasks with dazzle the threadbare eye;
‘My trouble, doctor, is: I see a tree,
And that damn scrupulous tree won't practice wiles
To beguile sight:
E.g., by cant of light
Concoct a Daphne;
My tree stays tree.

‘However I wrench obstinate bark and trunk
To my sweet will, no luminous shape
Steps out radiant in limb, eye, lip,
To hoodwink the honest earth which point-blank
Spurns such fiction
As nymphs; cold vision
Will have no counterfeit
Palmed off on it.

‘No doubt now in dream-propertied fall some moon-eyed,
Star-lucky sleight-of-hand man watches
My jilting lady squander coin, gold leaf stock ditches,
And the opulent air go studded with seed,
While this beggared brain
Hatches no fortune,
But from leaf, from grass,
Thieves what it has.’