Okay, this is my first attempt at a day log. I'm confining these to Live Journal. My more essay-like entries will continue on my Word Press diary on my web site. Let's see how these go.
I've now committed myself to going ice skating at the end of April as part of a work's outing. This should be a laugh. Yet another one of these first attempts at something I should have done as a child. The work's two resident skater boys are also going. Apparently, they're going to be showing everyone up. I'll just be happy if I don't fall and break my wrist. (Last weekend
taught me the dangers of landing wrongly.)
After work, I headed to Valvona and Crolla
to get the rest of my Dad's birthday present, to supplement the DVDs I've bought for him. Tbh, I'm not all that impressed with the place. It seems like it's good for certain things, specifically coffee, cold meats and cheese; but I get the impression that the shop is really just catering to those with £5 to burn on a jar of pasta sauce or someone who wants only the best olive oil (at £40 a litre) for their salad. Call me a philistine, but I couldn't tell it apart from the stuff I get from Lidl. I got my Dad several jars of antipasti, pickles and condiments, most of which I'm sure I paid too much for. For myself, I bought a bag of amaretti and a bar of 85% chocolate.
Of course, I couldn't resist the bevvy section, and picked up a bottle of Nocello walnut liqueur and W.L. Weller. I have still yet to see a shop that has a comprehensive bourbon selection, but on the other hand, this is the first time I've seen Weller in an offy. Weller being my current fallback bourbon at the Blue Blazer. Being very fruity, it reminds me a lot of a Lossie Speyside malt, but of course demonstrating the caramelly notes characteristic of bourbon, without letting those flavours overpower its own unique qualities.
Just to cheer me up, when I got home, my ticket to Dark City
Later tonight, I'm heading to the left bank to see a couple of bands playing. These are the groups of two guitarists / vocalists I heard play at the Listening Room in the 'Blazer on Sunday. Being a busy night, they only got to perform two songs apiece. I'm hoping that they will be able to play more than that tonight, as I enjoyed both of their sets, especially Ross's, and an expansion on what I heard is most definitely needed.
I guess for someone who does it full time, writing must be a really tortuous profession. Truman Capote, in this film, comes across as hiding behind a mask behind a mask. Seeing a story about a quadruple murder in a small Kansas town, he endeavours to write an article about it, and article that develops into a non-fiction novel (the first, by his reckoning). In the course of his writing, he befriends the two murderers, one of whom, being well read and articulate, fires his imagination. His motive for the friendship is purely cynical, in fact, once he has what he needs, he even goes as far as cutting of the legal assistance he had been providing, in the hope that their execution will be speeded, allowing him to finish his story.
He lies and double deals, but ultimately, it transpires that his cynicism is yet another persona, adopted out of necessity, and one that he finds impossible to maintain. His affection for the killers gets the better of him, and eventually tears him apart as he awaits their execution. Throughout the film, he is portrayed as someone facing an uphill struggle to convince people that he is not as his high pitched voice would lead them to believe, but perhaps what has happened is that he has built himself up too far, and cracks in the facade, that would otherwise be healthy character flaws, grow too far and reveal the ill-structured person underneath.
None of this would be possible of course, without the excellent workmanship of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays to an archetype, but he is more than worthy of the task of making one feel for a character seen frequently in life in ways that are most definitely atypical. He gives the audience a perfect view into the character's head, and Capote provides the perfect stage for this understated grandstanding performance.
Syriana is the map to the underground railway system of an impossibly large city. As has been frequently stated, there is no way in which one can take in the whole thing at once. We see tiny snatches of criss-crossing disconnected lines, that look like they might be related, but can't see any connection. Their paths cross from time to time, and suggestions are made of how it all fits together. Then, inevitably, the connecting station is arrived at, and boom. Of course, complete comprehension never quite arrives, but we get a sense, and idea, of how this thing, far larger than any of ourselves, might fit together.
Syriana is about, among other things, the oil trade, geopolitics, ethics, espionage and fanaticism. It is, in every sense, a modern global epic; in the same way that Nixon and JFK are epics of mid-20th Century America. Where Syriana differs from Stone's book-end tales is that the individual characters are dwarfed by the story they inhabit.
Syriana gives as a real sense of the world we now live in. How no single person has a grasp upon it. How many try, and although their influence reaches far, often beyond their own ken, it is never enough to completely affect the sphere they wish to influence an a way that will satisfy. Corrupt polititians, idealistic proscecutors, naive but ambitious businessmen and acolyte fundamentalists all have a part to play, but what they play a part in has grown to such a state that the outcome will most likely (and probably thankfully) satisfy no-one.