realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!

I hadn’t meant to delay so long in getting back to the blog, but the piles of milk tray and pudding that I had to cross to reach the internet connection thwarted me every time!Christmas was a quiet affair – the only excitement being that the 2nd reader didn’t show up for Midnight Mass and I had to read both readings. There was an embarrassing conflab with the psalm soloist who I thought was the reader and then he said “but there’s a psalm” and I said “there’s one every Sunday – is the choir singing it?” Not the conversation to be had while standing at the pulpit and the Church fuller than it is all year. We also had a few ewes lambing – lambs are really the cutest animals alive!
I saw 4 films over Christmas –Family Stone and Just Friends (last night) at the cinema; go once for a few giggles and forget all about them! I also saw Pirates of the Caribbean on TV which was better than I had expected and Hitchcock’s Rebecca – which was absolutely fantastic. The remake is so rubbish in comparison. Mrs Danvers is so scary and you really get a sense of Max and Mrs De Winters love – both of which are major themes in the book, but are lost in the modern version.
I also read a lot – I spent New Year’s Eve reading “These Old Shades” by Georgette Heyer and listening to the New Pornographers’ “Twin Cinema”. While they sound like an unlikely combination, I happily dreamt of Justin, Duke of Avon while humming “Sing me Spanish Techno”.
I just have one pseudo political point to make – why do Hollywood portrayals of liberal families involve loads of love and books? The love bit I can stomach, but the whole books everywhere thing just annoys me – the Family Stone’s house was like a library and everyone kept reading. What’s the point? That liberal families are these greatly evolved dynasties where intellectualism, humour, love and acceptance abound? That conservative families are dim witted and bigoted in comparison? Once you’ve read a few books, how can you be anything but painfully politically correct?
This point really rung home when I read Zadie Smith’s On Beauty – her portrayal of 2 families headed by opposing academics was sympathetic, realistic and funny. I wanted to spend time with the Belseys despite disagreeing with every thing they stood for. She does pander a little too much to the bullish conservative notion with Monty Kipps, but the fantastic Mrs Kipps saves the day. Also, we don’t get to see the world from the Kipps point of view, we just see the Kipps from the liberal Belsey’s POV which is entertaining.
Recommend it a lot. Also White Teeth, which is similar in many ways, is also a really good read.

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