06 January 2008

6 / 366

Happy New Year, belatedly, to whoever's reading this. Hope you have a splendid time in 2008, and that it brings you everything you might conceivably desire. (Unless you're a U.S. Republican, in which case I'm sorry, but no.)

"2008" in a mirror looks very much like "BOOS". We'll be in a better position to assess the numerological significance of this later in the year.

Since I last posted here, I've flitted around the country like a moth in bloody great Doc Martens, visiting various relatives, in-laws and friends for Christmas and New Year, then spent a week or so recovering from same.

I'm very pleased with various presents, and most weightily with the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, a four-way joint birthday-Christmas gift from my and B.'s parents. It's basically the full twelve volumes of the O.E.D. scrunched up small enough to fit into a single book, plus a magnifying glass. It's enormous and splendid, and has already told me that I was lied to long ago about the etymology of "marmalade". Hurrah.

Very happy also to have got Paul Magrs' Something Borrowed and Twin Freaks, Kim Newman's Andy Warhol's Dracula plus various other books and DVDs of Casino Royale, The Fountain (which I've still not seen, though I love Π) and the outstanding Children of Men. I've also obtained, though non-christmatically, a shiny new Sony MP3man which I need to learn to use, and the utterly splendid League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier... bringing to three the number of sequels to successful modern multitextual crossovers of nineteenth-century novel characters which I've acquired in the past fortnight.

Last night B. and I went to see The Golden Compass, which I wish had spent a tenth as much effort getting its script right as it evidently did on its (mostly superlative) special effects. The very obvious attempts to emulate successful recent movies (the spoken introduction telling us about the last remaining Ring alethiometer; the rubbish stardust-visionary effect when Lyra uses the same; the casting of Christopher Lee as a sinister old man and the last-minute recasting of Ian-McKellen-by-the-numbers as Iorek Byrnison), together with the deliberate ironing-out of anything contentious Philip Pullman might have had to say about religion, have turned his remarkable visionary parable into a thoroughly generic children's fantasy film.

I particularly enjoyed the visuals accompanying that opening narration, where the contrast between worlds was shown by first presenting the Radcliffe Camera surrounded by modern office-blocks to show our world rooted in reality, and then dissolving into the whimsical fantasy world by replacing these with the buildings which are actually bloody there. I can only imagine the derision with which the Oxford audiences would have reacted to that one.

Thanks to the maniacity of December I've fallen badly behind on writing and on updating this blog. I've rather signally failed to stick to my resolution for 2007 of reading a book a week and blogging about them -- the last time I wrote about what I'd been reading it was early November, and even then I left a couple out. I'll try to rectify this in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm back to work tomorrow, for the first time this year. Hurrah for Bank Holidays which fall on my working days and prevent me having to take unmanageable amounts of leave.

Enjoy the year. I'll try to blog again before the end of it.

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