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17 November 2017 @ 02:45 pm
(1) It's amazing how much worse you can make Harriet's revelation to Emma in Chapter 47 by changing a single word...

Emma, the crackfic version

"I should not have thought it possible," she began, "that you could have misunderstood me! I know we agreed never to name him -- but considering how infinitely superior he is to every body else, I should not have thought it possible that I could be supposed to mean any other person. Mr. Frank Churchill, indeed! I do not know who would ever look at him in the company of the other. I hope I have a better taste than to think of Mr. Frank Churchill, who is like nobody by his side. And that you should have been so mistaken, is amazing! I am sure, but for believing that you entirely approved and meant to encourage me in my attachment, I should have considered it at first too great a presumption almost, to dare to think of him. At first, if you had not told me that more wonderful things had happened; that there had been matches of greater disparity (those were your very words); -- I should not have dared to give way to -- I should not have thought it possible -- But if you, who had been always acquainted with him -- "

"Harriet!" cried Emma, collecting herself resolutely -- "Let us understand each other now, without the possibility of farther mistake. Are you speaking of -- Mr.Woodhouse?"

(2) There is so much good about the 2009 BBC version of Emma* that I wish I could like it more than I do. Much is done well, but the things that are not successful really don't work for me at all, and unfortunately are so at the centre of the production that they can't be ignored.

The good:

- a Harriet Smith who looks the part completely, and who is for once shown not simply mistaken, but vain in her conviction of Mr Knightley's regard for him.

- Miss Bates portrayed as unbelievably annoying, but also with a good degree of tragedy.

- the houses are all just right (though Hartfield surely had rather more servants opening doors and less popping in and out of windows).

- a good ball at the Crown, which does Emma and Mr Knightley particularly well.

- showing how much Emma, for all her advantages, is trapped in Highbury by her father.

- the rounding out of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill's stories (and Mr Weston by extension) far more than other adaptations so that we can see the commonality of their situations that would bring them together.

- John and Isabella! For once we get a picture of them as a real part of Emma's family, not just a plot function. If only the actor playing John had been cast as George Knightley.

The bad:

- the script. About 30% of it is theoretically good, in that is Austen. Unfortunately the presence of actual Austen lines shows up even more the appallingly clunkiness of the other 70%. This is one bullet point, but it should count as about 50, because it overrides all the good parts. It is hard to enjoy even the best scenes when you are expecting the imminent arrival of a clanger.**

- Jonny Lee Miller, who plays Mr Knightley as half the time too formal and half the time too casual and largely without charisma. It's a pity, because the production does do a good deal to show his POV, and in other circumstances I would like that. Mr Knightley should project a quiet authority, not fade into the wallpaper. The above two points come together painfully in Mr Knightley's proposal to Emma, which goes really well, being mostly Austen, right until the end when the script inserts a few lines of its own and the agony returns.

I shall have to watch the 1972 BBC version on YouTube and see what I make of that. In the meantime, the Paltrow/Northam film is thoroughly enjoyable if rather light, and I retain very fond memories of a mid-nineties stage version I saw with school, which did have a Mr Knightley who felt completely right.

*I may have commented along these lines in the past.

**Whereas the imminent arrival of the Clangers would definitely enliven the Highbury social scene.

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16 November 2017 @ 10:40 am
I put up the bird feeder yesterday and was rewarded this morning by activity while I was washing up. I suspect there of being more glamorous feeding opportunities nearby, as I don't always get many birds, but already there have been blue tits, great tits, a coal tit, robins, and a couple of sparrows.

Blue tit and coal tit:

The weather is dry and not too cold, so I think that I shall go and get up and go for a short walk, and even take my binoculars. I haven't been out anywhere pleasant for a couple of days, and I think my eyes would like to see some horizon.

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10 November 2017 @ 11:44 am
Please, for the love of God, not a cream polo neck jumper. Black is one thing, but cream, and especially cream with a wool coat, is quite another. Leave it to Roger Moore.

This post brought to you by watching the men's short programme at the NHK Trophy (Grand Prix figure skating) this morning while turning a an ill-fitting tweed skirt into a bag. I remembered at the worst time that I had meant to use interfacing on the outer fabric - too late to do it when I should have done, not late enough to feel that I could just not bother.

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09 November 2017 @ 04:12 pm
I am watching a broadcast of a Glyndebourne Billy Budd* that was on a couple of years ago, and being distracted by the following thoughts*:

(1) A lot of opera plots would be very different if their setting had a robust bullying and harassment policy.

(2) I want the fic when Captain Vere returns home and the Admiralty responds with "WTF, Vere? That's not the proper procedure."

(3) I've seen handsome Billy, and even young and darkly handsome Claggart***, but I'd love to see a performance that portrays Captain Vere as really, really good-looking and physically charismatic and the entire ship having a crush on him. It would go some way to explain why he is so idolised by the crew when we don't really see him do anything remarkable (at least in the first half), and be interesting to see handled in the Claggart/Vere/Billy triangle.

* Extracts on YouTube.

**On top of "Oh for goodness sake, Vere, just lie that the man had a heart attack and fell."

*** Phillips Ens in 1998, definitely the most tragic interpretion of the role I've seen. Ens was in this production, too, but at 15 years older obviously playing it differently.

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30 October 2017 @ 09:27 pm
Have been watching the Grand Prix Cup of Canada yesterday and today whilst doing the ironing. I wish I'd known that the kiss and cry was miked when I was writing In the Studio. Oh what opportunities missed!

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28 October 2017 @ 10:43 am
Belatedly, some summer holiday photos! I had a new camera after I dropped the old one in the sea earlier this summer, so I took vast numbers of photos thinking that I would be able to tweak settings and compare, and forgetting that there was no way I was going to remember which setting were which photo. So on both the plus and minus side I now have vast numbers of photos to sort through... Of which there follow just a few.

ETA: I've worked out how to re-size them to something sensible now...

Read more...Collapse )

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22 October 2017 @ 08:17 pm
I know that independent pattern companies aren't going to size exactly the same as the major companies. But I feel that I, a UK 12, should not be finding that this sweatshirt pattern runs so large that I would have to make a size (US) 2 not to swim in it. Are all the people on the internet who have made it kidding about their measurements, or possessed of very broad shoulders? Or posting from some dimension where the current fashion for wearing ease is very different, possibly the depths of Minnesota in 1990. I also suspect that I had not quite grasped just how much some of the people raving about making theirs had significantly altered the pattern.

On the plus side, I didn't try it in my best fabric, it wasn't really wasted time as I was having a quiet weekend with my visiting and cold-stricken Youngest Sister, and if I don't manage to get something ordinarily wearable out of this version, it may yet make be a warm pyjama top. But aargh! So this is a definite thumb's down for Grainline's much-vaunted Linden sweatshirt pattern and people being wrong (as far as I'm concerned) on the internet.

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15 October 2017 @ 08:11 pm
The Whispering Grass by Nineveh_uk
Chapters: 1
Fandom: Tanz der Vampire
Rating: T, CNTW
Characters: Graf von Krolock, Gräfin von Krolock

She didn't know that he was lost: that he still lived, but not as he had before. That she had doomed him to this wandering in the dark, lost in the mountains and forests and the heartbeats of the birds that sang outside his window, and in his soul a lust for unnameable things.


Or, if this were a Friends episode, The One where the Count accidentally murders his wife. I suspect that this fic really doesn't work without canon contest. Short version, it's backstory fic about a verse of a song that is basically the sick version of Fields of Gold*, in which the vampire count - who is having a moment of "Being a vampire is terrible, you murder everyone you might feel for, and also you have to spend eternity knowing that you're not a brilliant genius, you're pretty average. It's all a metaphor for capitalism anyway"** - recounts how the first person he killed was an unnamed woman who is generally assumed to be his wife***. It is overwrought, involved some ridiculous googling in the course of which I discover the existence of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania, which sounds like a slightly desperate literary novel attempting wry humour, but I enjoyed writing it and the first audience of fanfic is ultimately the author.

* Though having now seen the video, that might also be Fields of Gold itself,. Why exactly is the singer is walking at night through a graveyard while long-ago images of his lover and children are glimpsed through his silhouette?

**It's a good song, if heavy on the manpain. Vampain?

***Though there's a vid of one performance where the tomb he is angsting in front of appears to have a soldier carved on it. I read a Word of God interview with the lyricist that seemed to imply that he's actually making all of it up in order to manipulate a couple of characters who are over-hearing him, which would be a plausible interpretation if any of the actors had ever played it like that ever.

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13 October 2017 @ 10:27 pm
I hate writing fic summaries. I hate writing fic summaries. I hate writing fic summaries.

Ad infinitum.

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When I am galactic dictator I shall have a department of my Ministry of Propaganda dedicated to the production of good romantic comedies. These romcoms won’t actually have any other political message, indeed they will even be permitted to be against me*. But what they will be absolutely required to be is well-acted, not overlong, not gross, not misogynistic, and above all, very funny. The regular arrival of decent comedy on people’s cinema screens will do more for my popularity than any number of rallies.

In the absence of that happy scenario, I have to make do with what is available. Which is why I was delighted to discover Swedish political comedy Fyra år till/Four More Years. I am rubbish at summaries, so I shall use the DVD blurb:

David Holst has been the favourite to become the next Prime Minister of Sweden. However, after a shocking turnaround at the polls, he is left on the sidelines, where he meets Martin: charming, bright, fun-loving…and the state secretary to the new Prime Minister! David navigates a newly found sexuality and a political divide: should he give up his marriage and career for a social democrat who’s had more one night stands than David’s had votes?

It’s 90 minutes of politics RPF come to life. It’s well acted, it’s really funny, and crucial to enjoyment it avoids both “Ron the Death-Eater” and doormat scenarios for David’s wife (possibly because the actress playing her directed it). I suspect there are large numbers of Swedish jokes that I’m not getting, especially given that they use the names and cultural stereotypes of real political parties**.

I think one thing that I like is that it is a rom com in which no-one is ditzy and it acknowledges that just throwing over everything for love is not necessarily something that everyone is going to do, especially when they are passionate about something else in their life that they have already made sacrifices for. So while there is plenty of the ridiculous in it, there is a balancing seriousness about how adults with established personal and professional lives deal with a new situation.

Have the trailer:

(Since I am rec’ing this as a fun light comedy, I will note that there is one comment from a character that some people may feel is biphobic. It’s entirely in character, and the fact that despite his marriage David is definitely gay and not bi is something that the film overall provides a good deal of context for, but I’d feel bad if people were blindsided at a bad moment, hence the note.)

* Up to a point.

** See what they say about themselves officially here. Plus Wikipedia</i>.

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