Too Many Dresses

doctor of romcoms, twee as fuck

Everything counts in large amounts

Had a lovely time chatting with a few of my friends off the Film MA today, but I couldn’t help but think afterwards just how angry I am with the way a lot of things are going in this country, and how utterly frustrated I am that there is so little I can do about them. Unemployment, recession, outrageous energy bills, hapless and overpriced public transport…and all of this while our democratically electedly MPs fiddle their second (second!?) home expenses and work themselves out a nice little pay rise.

On thinking all these things through, they all seemed to come back to two things: 1) the greed and unaccountability of a large company and 2) the government’s refusal to intervene despite the tools being in place for that very purpose (e.g. the energy ombudsman).

Now, I’m not blogging here to propose solutions. I simply don’t have any, and that, perhaps, more than anything else, is what really stings about all this. I’m sitting here in one of the most developed nations in the world, where more than one in four children live in poverty. I’m fortunate to be studying for a Masters degree, when 36% of 16 year olds leave school without 5 A*-C GCSEs. This year I have watched the people that I love struggle against a vicious economic climate and seen some of the people I graduated with struggle to make ends meet in minimum wage jobs. And the only weapon that I have against all of this is my vote. Once every four years I get to choose between three candidates that are presented to us in a wave of PR and spin (this is excepting the fact that I vote in [reportedly] the safest Tory seat in the country!). I just feel so utterly paralysed and incapacitated at the moment. There’s so many things that I would change. And, yes, fair enough, where would I start, and, no, I’m not saying I would do a better job than Gordon Brown or David Cameron or even Gordon the Gopher – but I just wish I had more input.

It’s significant, I feel, that politics is not taught in schools (it is not offered by any exam board at GCSE/Key Stage 4 level due to an apparent ‘lack of demand’). The closet socialist in me says that this is a vicious tactic to keep us in the dark, to ensure that we don’t grow up knowing how to get involved, and how to rock the boat. If everything about our lives – from the quality of the air that we breathe to the price we pay for a Cadbury’s creme egg – is affected by politics, surely it should be compulsory at all stages of education? Isn’t knowing how your country runs and how to change it key in promoting responsible, involved and invested citizenship? But perhaps, in the end, that is not what the government wants.

I sincerely hope (and to some degree suspect) that I am not the only one that feels this level of extreme frustration with current circumstances. I’m imagining tomorrow’s protests will go some way to demonstrating this, although I’m not imagining that anyone will take notice (they will probably hit the headlines due to violence, and thus the media and the government will be able to successfully mask the dissent). Ah well, if anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Send any revolutionary ideas on a Che Guevara postcard please.

toomanydresses.

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Make do and mend

I have several pressing matters that need to be dealt with before uni on Monday, but I just had to come on here and have a rant about this ridiculous article on the BBC.

I think, perhaps, I must have lost my invite to this “fairyland” of excess that supposedly anyone below the age of 40 is supposed to live in. “Children of that generation [the 40s and 50s] know very well the familiar signs of looking in parents’ fridges and seeing things past their sell-by dates,” popularist economist David Kynaston chirrups. He seems to feel that a pack of ham or a rouge yoghurt dated Feb 28 wouldn’t be languishing in my refridgerator ready for tomorrow’s lunch. He’s very wrong, and his complete lack of touch with reality seems to suggest what might have put us in this mess in the first place. Real families in Britain do spend sensibly, they do shop in charity shops and mend holes in their clothes and they certainly wouldn’t chuck away a carton of eggs because the label on the front said that they might be no good (as my Dad always says ‘they never used to put sell by dates on eggs! They’re fine!’). Yes, we might buy into some of the more convenient aspects of consumerism – my household has recently accquired a new dishwasher, for example – but you can bet the kitchen won’t see another one for a good 10 years.

As a final aside, the saving vs spending debate is extremely interesting. It does make me feel good every time I make a purchase though…new floral raincoat? Just doing my bit for the economy.

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Round-Up

A rather belated round-up (due to illness and snow) of my weekend, which was spent in Shropshire, taking hideously long walks in nice countryside (5 and a half miles – or 8.8km – along muddy bridlepaths, abandoned quarries, dense spooky forests (complete with dilapidated and faded ‘BEWARE BLASTING’ sign nailed to a tree) and country lanes; and sat in front of the television. As such, I didn’t get an awful lot of work done, but it was still a weekend well-spent.

Sky1’s LOST, now into the 3rd episode of the fifth and penultimate season, proved a stimulating yet mind-bending watch as always this Sunday. I can only hope, for humanity’s sake, that I am not alone in particularly enjoying Desmond/Penny-centric episodes, which this one, “Jughead”, proved to be. It opened with a particularly thrilling scene for us ‘shippers, in which Penny gave birth to a baby boy (named, as we learn later, Charlie; a nod, of course, to the probably deceased (one is never quite sure with Lost) Mancunian rock-star who warned good old Des that the freighter was ‘not Penny’s boat’, but also links quite intriguingly to Penny’s old man Charles Widmore, who, it is revealed, has not had any contact with her for the three years since Desmond got off the island). Phew, it’s already too complicated, and that’s just the teaser.

Things seemed to have settled down slightly on the island anyway, with slightly less of the arbitrary jumping around in time compared to last week’s two-part opener. There was a thrilling scene between Locke and Richard Alpert (a character that has intrigued me no-end and whom I’m hoping we will get some answers about very soon) that goes some way to explain Locke’s position within the timeline of the island and also heavily suggests that it was no accident that Flight 815 crashed on this island. But we knew that anyway…didn’t we? What we didn’t know is that Charles Widmore himself was once an ‘Other’, serving under Alpert. Gasp stutter whistle etc.

Daniel Faraday continues to become increasingly kick-ass in an Oxford-physician geek type way, and I’m guessing that the undetonated H-bomb will bring us closer to discovering the mysteries of the Hatch (which exploded at the end of series 2, if you care to remember that far back). The revelations are coming thick and fast, and, joyously, I think I can say hesitantly that we might actually be getting close to some answers. But probably not. What I do know is that it’s not worth me whinging about it, because I will still keep on watching it anyway. I have come this far, I’m determined to see it through!

Far less taxing, but no less enjoyable this weekend was the latest episode of BBC1’s Lark Rise To Candleford, a programme that has become somewhat of a guilty pleasure to me since my Mum introduced me to it over Christmas. Costume drama generally isn’t my thing, but I just love the parochial bliss of a society uninfiltrated by cars, investment banking and MySpace. At the series’s heart is an enduring warmth and humour – characterised in this episode by a particularly saucy gag involving a red ribbon – that is the perfect antidote to the recession blues. Yes, the residents of Lark Rise may suffer poverty and ill health, and the citizens of Candleford may indulge in petty quarrels and lofty aspirations of modernity, but each episode stresses the importance of family and community, values which we all know have suffered at the hands of late capitalist society. I’m not unaware of the slightly dubious conservatism of Lark Rise‘s message, but I can’t help but like it!

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Pretty Promises…

Ah, yes, that all important first post…

I’m hoping that this blog will provide a place for me to muse on various occupations of mine, namely my hopefully burgeoning academic career (and my current capacity as a Masters student studying Film and Television) and a bunch of other, slightly more vacuous stuff (like buying dresses, wearing dresses, accessorising dresses and watching repeats of Friends) as this is basically what my life entails at the moment. I’m hoping to update anyone who is interested on my progress with my research (which currently concerns masculinity and ideology in the homme-com genre; a study of Apatow Pictures and independence; and hopefully soon an examination of recent fish-out-of-water comedies set in New York with a focus on the subject confronting (post)modernity), perhaps ramble a bit about films I have seen (in conjunction with my writing for fabulous film blog Atlas Film) and use this as a general exercise in self-indulgence (though hopefully future posts will feature less parenthesis).

Feel free to comment, shout out, poke fun or just listen in.

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