Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sky Captain (Film)

I met up with a new acquaintaince last night at the West India Quay cinema. We went to see Sky Captain. Tom would make a nice friend, and frankly I didn't care about anything else beyond that. I guess I was already spiralling downward into this new phase of mourning mentioned in my last post, which was precipitated when I got home by talking to my sister.

The movie is very original visually. But there are two things wrong with it. It lacks humanity: computer-generated films like Shrek and Toy Story have more humanity than Sky Captain. The second thing wrong with it is that its visual density flashes by too quickly. Some of its beautiful, laboriously-constructed images barely have time to register on your retina, before they move or change. It seems such a waste, that an imaginative vista, which has so much potential for escapism, is allowed less time on a film than would be allowed on a music video. I did actually doze off for 5 minutes midway. Gwynneth Paltrow shows off her hair very nicely in the film, and Jude Law is starting to look like Niles Crane in Frasier.

Afterward we repaired over a footbridge over the dockwater to a pub called the Cat and the Canary. The views in the Canary Wharf Docks are beautifully lit at night. I was quite surprised, as I really like that sort of sparkly night time thing. As we sat at the tables outside having our pints, looming over us, across the water, was the slinky 20 storey tower with the Marriott Hotel in the bottom, and extravagantly expensive New York Style apartments above. Over half of the flats and hotel rooms are clearly empty, and you wonder how these economic realities never seem suggested by the Labour Government's statistics.

Tom is interesting enough and has handsome bone structure, though he has let himself become portly at his young age. We managed to chat for hours, as he is erudite and intelligent. But then, I suppose he is clearly of the chattering classes.

Today, I rotted. I even felt ill this morning, undoubtedly tipped over by depressed feelings of mourning. Channel 4 has excellent daytime programming these days, I was astonished! There was a superb documentary on the history of immigration in Britain, followed by another on the U-Boat's role in World War 1. Then Cheers and a double episode of Frasier. And surprisingly, all episodes that I had missed. One of them involved Frasier being publicly mistaken as being OUTed as Gay, and then being pursued as a trophy boyfriend by Patrick Stewart, of all people! Patrick Stewart does indeed have a glorious voice, as I've mentioned before, and doesn't he know how to use it.

Fortunately, the weather and I picked up in the afternoon. Chocolate for serotonin, the Internet for chat, but most of all a march into the wind. For once I ended up at the West End of the Wanstead Flats, and got to examine close up the new Jubilee Pond, constructed as a wildfowl replacement for its broken concrete predecessor (which according to the sign, was the Model Yachting Pond first opened over 90 years ago).

I was surprised to learn that the Wanstead Flats have in fact been treeless since the 12th century, and mostly used for sheep grazing. The soil is so poor, the growth is so slow, that I would have thought it were poorer grazing than the Yorkshire Moors.

But my dear Mother cheered me up immensely. She was feeling very chuffed and prepared because she has over the weekend picked out THE most expensive casket she could buy for my dad. It is ridiculous to me that money is wasted on death when it was conserved with such niggardly austerity during life. But then their values are so different from my generation's. And it made her very happy that she would be giving him a nice comfortable bed to lie in his grave. Why not cremation? He is that much afraid of fire? I defer to irrationality, when it obviously achieves consolation more successfully than my logic.

Dad was able to say a few words on the phone, but is losing coherence. It is even harder for me to know what to say, when he has reached the state where the meaning of words seems to conjure up little in his mind.

Death is a funny old business, which is no wonder that Six Feet Under was conceived to become such a hit. And I misuse the word funny very deliberately.

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