Monday, December 20, 2004

Gonna fiesta like it's 1999

Friday: sitting at work, patiently tapping my computer keyboard in a vain attempt to appear busy

Phone rings: sister on other end with inexplicable fake German accent announces that my license has arrived

Thought occurs: someone could find a fax machine and copy & fax said license to me in order that I might be insured

Thought grows: Poppa is travelling to Dublin and could do it on his way

Chance taken: call Dad and ask him, he agrees (albeit unwillingly)

Friday: sitting at work, patiently tapping my computer keyboard in a vain attempt to appear busy whilst glancing at the phone watching the LCD clock tot up the minutes…closer and closer to four

Impatience: call home, sister has discarded fake German accent for one of simple annoyance (perhaps I was disturbing her busy sitting-around schedule) to discover that Pops has taken a ‘lie down’

Bright idea: text Dads mobile faking no knowledge of his sleeping extravaganza telling him how thankful I am that he is doing this for me, and how he is a life-saver, and how I owe him for this one, etc. etc. and sign off as his loving daughter

Friday: sitting at work, patiently tapping my computer keyboard in a vain attempt to appear busy whilst glancing at the phone and listening to the fax

Noise: fax machine bursts into action and copies come through

Hallelujah: call unhappy father and don’t care about his ‘attitude’ as favour has now been done and don't bloody need him now

Insurance: requested and received through much perseverance

Drinks: celebratory knees-up in local hostelry, soon I shall be a ‘designated driver’ and unable to enjoy uninhibited drinking

So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I took to the road on Sunday with my dutiful Dad in the passenger seat and my sister, now quite devoid of any remaining Germanic tendencies, in the back. I kindly drove her to work. Traffic lights, winding roads, crazy pedestrians, and rabid dogs – in fact, everything a budding driver needs or wants. I overcame it all, and proceeded to take my car out on more adventurous journeys, culminating in an adventurous night time trip to Blessington to collect my darling cranky-puss from the bus. From there, we went home, but then – the driving itch slowly taking over – I drove to Baltinglass for a Chinese (take-away, not person).

I love my Fiesta. My little, little Fiesta.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Napoleon Who?

Every so often an independent movie comes out of left field and catches cinemagoers completely by surprise with its insight and voracity. This is almost that movie. ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ is a new anti-hero – the Holden Caulfield of the MTV generation, though with slightly less social ability – and embodies every outsider who ever sat front row centre of the class with his mouth hanging open.

Napoleon is introduced on screen giving a speech about Japanese scientists planting explosives in Loch Ness to blow anything there out of the water, and local wizards clubbing together to cast a spell over the lake to protect ‘Nessie’ - this being, of course, his entry for the current events section of class! Napoleon lives with his (much) older brother Kip and his grandmother. When she breaks a bone whilst dune-buggying, their strange Uncle Rico comes to 'babysit'. Kip and Rico find a connection and are soon selling Tupperware together in order to buy a time machine, and they both conspire to make Napoleon's already complicated life unbearable. Introduce a monosyllabic Mexican new kid, a dysfunctional 80’s throwaway girl, a hungry Llama, a dozen roads to nowhere, one of the funniest dance sequences since ‘Flashdance’, and the mix is complete.

'Napoleon Dynamite' is one of the most hilarious films I have seen this year – it is smart, poignant and utterly watchable, drawing threads of anguish (what else can you call the embarrassments of youth?) with threads of humour. Saying that, I am not sure it can cross any huge generational gaps – some of the scenes are too quintessentially teenager, and typically American, to maintain a very wide (as it deserves) following.

A welcome offering from the fairytale land of man-with-camera, I take movies that are full of life and character, like this, over the blockbuster tosh that can sometimes poison our perception of cinema. ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ is an absolute gem of independent cinema, and a welcome relief from mediocrity.

Though it deserves a much fuller audience, 'Napoleon Dynamite' will probably dominate the cult classic section of Laser for a good many years to come.

If stars are the quantification of a movie, then this dynamite (it had to be done) offering gets a blistering four-and-three-quarters stars!!

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Fare to Remember (see what I did?!)

Watched Taxi Driver last night. Again. Does Travis Bickle ever loose his sting? As it turns out, yes! Last night, whilst watching it, I just felt incredibly sorry for him – that one line ‘Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man.’ Got me right here (*points to general area of heart*)!! And his big one ‘Here is a man who would not take it anymore…..Here is a man who stood up!’ But he DID take it, and came out smiling the smile of the gormless – contented in life or death, a bullet or a smile from strangers would have served the same purpose and brought the same effect! Last night was the first time in my life that I have watched Taxi Driver and actually choked up!

I still STILL STILL haven’t got my license. What is the story with Wicklow County Council??? Have they got no soul, no heart, no overtime??!!

Christmas is drawing near (extra marks for originality of statement!), and I thought I had all my gifts bought – but yesterday I realised that I have only bought for one person (you know who you are!). So, now I’ve panicked and started buying more unneeded things online…must spend day in town shopping! Must stop avoiding it! Must not forget that the meaning of Christmas is not presents, but is all about Jesus’ birthday.

Quick reminiscence – Spike Milligan once told a story of Jesus College in England. The phone rings on Christmas Day,
…Gatehouse guard answers
…voice on the other end of the line,
‘Is this Jesus?’
…guard replies,
…raucous singing,
‘Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you’!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Life I could'a/ should'a/ would'a had!

We went to see ‘Riding Giants’ at the weekend – a documentary on the history of surfing, from Greg Noll to Laird Hamilton, made by the same genius that brought us ‘Dogtown and Z Boys’ (fabulous documentary on the history of skateboarding!). It was fantastic – the cinematography and skilful shots were breathtaking (hardly an effort when your palate includes Hawaii and the Californian coastline), but my entire imagination was taken up with the footage of the fifties group of surfers who hiked sticks and moved to Hawaii to live beside the greatest swell they had ever known. Living on pineapples and whatever fish they could catch (plus a few stolen chickens) they spent hours in the water every day, living a life of complete freedom. To them, surfing became an actual way of life – they were the original hippies, before flower power and free love were even thought of! There, in the ‘repressed’ fifties were these young men living the dream, and living my dream (if you take away the obsession with surfing, obviously!!). My dream being, of course, to live off the land/sea/air and not have to pay taxes, drive to work, sit in traffic, partake in office politics (damn those office politics!!), attend meetings, take notes, shake people’s hand whilst simultaneously smiling, say things like ‘sorry Garda but the tax is in the post’, pay rent, make constant conversation with people I don’t like, etc. etc.

So, instead, I want to live by the ocean. Preferably in a shack. Eating pineapples.

Ok – so that’s probably not going to happen (well, it might – I will be taking a couple of years off and spend it travelling around, so a few months could be spent in that proverbial ‘shack’).

Anyway, back on track – I would highly recommend ‘Riding Giants’. It is a superb and sublime piece of celluloid that has heightened my ambitions to ‘spread these broken wings and learn to fly again’ (and, yes, I DID just quote 80’s legend Mr. Mister!!). What are you gonna do about it?!

Also saw ‘The Incredibles’ at the weekend. It was incroyable, to say the least!

Nothing more to report…license still hasn’t arrived! I wait patiently…(well – not quite patiently. I wait. Let’s leave it at that!).