Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is not a review

A few years ago I wrote a review of a novel for a journal. It was one of the worst writing experiences of my life. I suck at writing reviews. My reviews have two lengths: haiku or thesis, and I can't, no matter how hard I try, write anything in between. This made the 921 words of this particular review the most agonising 921 words I've ever written.

My haiku-length reviews are borne out of a theory of mind issue I seem to have: somehow (in my mind) if I'm thinking about a book I figure everyone else is too? In which case, what is there to say? We've all read it, had the same thoughts and come up with the same conclusions (surely, eh?). All that's left to do with these reviews is list where and when I bought my copy of the book, and perhaps whether I had my umbrella with me that day or not (I most often do).

My thesis-length reviews are margin-to-margin verbiage. I don't know why the sentences go on and on like they do sometimes, but I do know that I once used the phrase 'literal and symbolic violence' which still makes me want to crawl under my kitchen bench and stay there.

All this is by way of telling you that I went to see Lone Scherfig's An Education at the movies yesterday, which I quite enjoyed but which I can't, as a dysfunctional review non-writer, tell you anything useful about.

This being the case, here's a list of some random movie related things I thought about over the course of the day:

1. The very best movies in the whole wide world are set in schools and focus on characters whose favourite subjects are English and Latin (and better yet, contain lines from ditsy, well-meaning friends like: "Forget about Latin; soon no-one will be speaking it, not even the Latins.");

2. Going to the movies in the mid afternoon messes with the whole daylight/real people alignment I have going on in my head. This makes for confusing and slightly embarrassing dinner table conversation when you blurt out to your family: "Hey guess who I saw today! Peter Sarsgaard! No wait, he was the guy in the movie. Was he? No yeah, it was him. Bum, I felt like I'd seen him at work today. How weird. Anyway, whatever, he's sort of hot. So... um... pass the salad?"

3. After going to the movies in the mid afternoon, and after the ensuing confusing and slightly embarrassing dinner table conversation when you get real life and movie land mixed up, it's good to go to the fridge and find a bottle of Little Creatures pale ale just waiting for you, all frosty and friendly.

Trust me, this ridiculous list is better than if I'd written a review. For shame.


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Did you have your umbrella with you Kettle?

I've eaten many times at the Little Creatures Dining Hall in Melbourne.

A fine array of Little Creatures beers and yummy food.

Kettle said...

Yes I did have my umbrella with me, Ramon, and I give the book four stars (see, that's all there is to say, don't you think?).

Man, all the good stuff is in Melbourne. I didn't realise Sydney sucked this much when I moved here.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

If you ever travel down to St-Petersberg-on-the-Yarra Kettle, I'd be happy to treat you to the "Ramon Insertnamehere tour d' Melbourne".

More beer!
More books!

Kettle said...

That is a most excellent idea, Ramon. Please put my name on the "Ramon Insertnamehere tour d' Melbourne" list; do you need a deposit?

My dear parents may be coming to Melbs with us sometime in 2010 to, amongst other things, add four extra hands to the delightful-but-busy-small-boy wrangling effort, with the goal of leaving copious hours free for others of us to enjoy many BEERS and find many BOOKS! I'm also unnaturally excited about the European Masters exhibition that will be on at the NGV.

Is it wrong for a 34-year old girl-type to be bouncing around her loungeroom about the thought of a half-planned holiday that may or may not happen sometime in following year? No?

Kettle said...

Ooh! PS Ramon: will you be running your communist revolutions course in 2010? I should try and co-ordinate with that too.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

"European Masters exhibition"

Is that a beer, Kettle?

I can conduct the first seminar in my "communist revolutions" course over beer.

It's win-win!

squib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
squib said...

That's weird, I thought Little Creatures was just in Fremantle. I didn't realise they were EVERYWHERE like Dome cafes

European Masters exhibition

For a horrible second I thought you were talking about golf. Pheeeew

Reviews, well, stars and/or tomatoes are more than enough, surely?

Kettle said...

Ramon I think you've just come up with Victoria's 2010 tourism hit: imagine the numbers who would flock (positively flock) to Melbourne for an exhibition of masterly European beers. And by 'exhibition' I mean unlimited tastings'; and by 'unlimited tastings' I mean 'pay $20 at the door and get yourself absolutely schickered (on masterly European beers)'. I've made myself thirsty just thinking about it.

And Squib, for a horrible second when you said 'European Masters exhibition' and 'golf' I had a horrible image of European Masters gold players exhibiting themselves (and by 'themselves' I mean their pink bits). Deary me, sorry, it's too early for such horrorific images.

And tomatoes and stars are an excellent idea for reviews, Squib! And here I am getting bogged down with agonising words like a chump. I wish we'd had this conversation years ago!

Kettle's Mum said...

I have to report I am one of an exclusive group (well, 800 of us) who have already seen the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition. And very much enjoyed Therese Rein's opening speech. She is a fabulous woman.
You will have to pop down to Canberra again soon, Kettle.

Kettle said...

That's cool, Mum. What was the theme of Therese's speech? What was your favourite pik-cha?

Kettle's Mum said...

Kettle, am I confused or are you? I misread your NGV (Melbourne) as NGA (Canberra), which is where the Masterpieces of Paris have today opened.
If there is a European Masters exhibition on in Melbourne, I want to know about it!
Our lovely Therese said lots of interesting things - how Aussies have for decades visited Paris to see great artworks, and now it is our turn for the artworks to visit us.
She related how Gaugin for instance, had popped into Melbourne and Sydney, and possibly even Adelaide on his way to Tahiti, and how he had been astounded at how modern these cities were! (I don't think Van Gogh made it to Sydney.)
Unfortunately the most reported comment she made was how she (pregnant) and Kevin (not pregnant), had already queued for hours to see the art in Paris, when she had a desperate need for food. Kevin obligingly took her off for a snack, whereupon on their return, they re-joined the queue at the end.
So far, lots of wonderful piks, too early yet for a favourite.

Kettle said...

Mumziss I think it's a different exhibition altogether:


One day I'll figure out how to put links into comments but clearly not today.

I may not have mentioned but I'm planning to camp out at your place for a coupla weeks while I make my 12 visits to the Paris exhibition. Is that cool?

Lucky bloody Gaugin, I'd be happy popping anywhere on my way to Tahiti, even Adelaide.