Life, photos but not the universe

I am old, Father William

But unlike you,

I cannot turn cartwheels* while polishing shoes.

This piece of nonsense is inspired by Kate Atkinson’s novel, Emotionally Weird.  I am finding it hugely entertaining as it seems to include at least three intertwined stories, each writing themselves according to a different viewpoint.  At least one of which is that of a separate person.  Occasionally one of the narrators inserts a comment into one of the other stories.  One of the stories appears to concern a young woman at University in the 60’s and is soaked in the kind of surreal, disjointed confusion which I remember well from my own time at Art College and around Bristol University.  One of the stories is written by her as part of her degree course.  The third story is being told to her by her mother and promises to tell her about her birth and early life as well as her mother’s life while the first story is apparently being told, by her, to that same mother….

Given the waywardness of some characters and the amount of interference in the lives of others, it seems unlikely that any of the stories will actually arrive at any conclusions so I’m just really hoping that the main protagonist will succeed in getting her essays in on time in spite of  being distracted by dog kidnapping, temporarily abandoned babies and occasional accidental doses of whatever was in the chocolate brownies.

Confused?  Me too.  It’s great, especially as Kate Atkinson excels in showing you the absurd side of any event or interchange between people.  And as a result there’s a KA style narrative of my own,  in my head,  running in the background to sorting the washing and tidying the kitchen.  This makes the humdrum stuff quite unusually enjoyable : )

There’s nothing like being Lost In a Good Book, which happens to be the title of a book by Jasper Fforde thingie.  I read it a while ago.  It’s not very bad but neither  is it very good.  While it is both absurd and entertaining I feel Jasper Ff could have learnt a lot from KA.

Anyway, going back to Father William** and old age.  And music.  Like books, music will soak itself into my life and each day will be coloured by whatever I’m listening to.  These days, being no longer able or willing  to turn emotional cartwheels, I’m quite reluctant to listen to love songs (I simply can’t help thinking “Oh Yeah?” in a cynical sort of way whenever I hear people warbling about the trueness etc etc of their passions).  One of the big advantages of er, increased age is realising that now, I too, ‘can’t hear the words’.  Our parents used to complain about this as if it was a bad thing.  But it can be a very good thing – you can listen to the nice chords and melodies without being exasperated by the silly words 🙂

Also, perhaps more importantly, without being harrowed by the sad songs about unrequited love.  As a teenager, I wallowed in sad songs about love – not that there was much choice.  At times, you might have been forgiven for thinking there was no other emotion in the human repertoire.  Talk about brain-washing!  It took years to expunge the unfortunate impression I got from pop music that the only love worth feeling was the one you couldn’t have. I’m sure this is still what pop music is all about but now I don’t have to pay attention.

I imagine there was a time when other feelings and necessities loomed larger in the poular consciousness than unrequited love – or lust 🙂  Though obviously there is a certain age when nothing else is as important because it’s all tied up with biological imperatives which the teenage brain is naturally burdened with.  (With which the teenage brain etc etc I mean to say, of course).

Speaking of silly words, this is brilliant watching.  Is there hope for the human race d’you think?

*I always wanted to be able to do this.  Couldn’t though.  I don’t think I ever had very good spatial awareness.

**From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  His poems are absolute gems, full of delicious absurdity and, I’ve just discovered, wonderful parodies of poems that children of the period would have known by heart.  I’ve always loved Father William.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments