Happy 4th of July if you are American. Well, Happy 4th of July if you are not American as well. It may not have the same symbolism but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a nice day anyway. I have spent an ultra quiet day because HOH was working. I did consider putting on my trainers and walking to church but to say it has been raining a bit is a gross under hyperbole so I took my posh jeans off, and went to church in my living room with a Double Decker and a coffee. Swings and roundabouts then.
I have also been really busy at work, filling in for someone else as well as my job. the result of this is that you don’t feel you are doing anything particularly well and I tend to go home at the end of the day just thinking about the things I have missed rather than the things I have achieved. I am therefore pooped and ready for a lie down at all times.
What I have found helpful in the middle of a small but perfectly formed nervous breakdown has been artistic endeavours – not mine you understand – other people’s. Obviously, as a mature fully formed spiritual Christian type my go-to is the Bible, Prayer, Exorcism, Naming and Claiming things etc etc (I know, I know don’t write in) but usually spiritual practice is a part of my day to day life and I don’t think it precludes reading a book, watching a film or singing the Three Lions Theme on your balcony. (I’m not particularly proud of the last one).
So to the pictures to see After Love. I am a bit of a fan of small, independent films. this doesn’t mean I don’t like mainstream stuff. I love a Marvel (apart from Ironman. Never liked Ironman) I queued round the block to see Star Wars in 1977 and have loved them ever since – even the rubbish ones – and some are very definitely rubbish. However, in my dotage, I have developed a yen for smaller, more thoughtful films as well. Now the unfortunate thing about these type of films is that they are usually shown in Independent Cinemas which can be a bit full of their own importance with people drinking wine and chatting loudly about the ballet. Ignore them. They just want you to look at them. Anyway, this After Love is about a Muslim convert English lady, whose husband dies suddenly. After his death, she finds out about a secret second life he had. It’s small, beautifully formed and would make your cat cry.
No less a man than CS Lewis said that, if a book isn’t grabbing you, you shouldn’t carry on with it and I have been doing this. It makes me feel a bit guilty because of all the work that has gone into it but I can’t carry any more guilt round. However, there has been one outstanding exception Simple Pleasures by Clare Chambers. HOH read it first because I was wrestling with one of those spy novels that you can’t put down because you want to know who the double agent is and then, when it ends , you are still not that sure. Anyway, while HOH was waiting for it , he read the Clare Chambers one. It is excellent – the story of a woman whose life, which consists entirely of her job as a newspaper reporter and looking after her mother is turned upside down by a family she meets as part of a story she is investigating. It is a beautiful and incisive snapshot of a life. HOH said it reminded him a great deal of my relationship with my mother. (He’s right) It’s a great book but be prepared for a gut punch at the end.
Lastly, a statue. As part of the Plymouth Mayflower Celebrations Sir Anthony Gormley was commissioned to produce a statue. The result was Look 2 or Rusty Reg as it has been re-christened locally. Now, I am in a small minority here but I am a big fan of it. Firstly, statues by Anthony Gormley are as rare as hen’s teeth in England and this appearing here is a real coup. Also, to the man who shouted “Waste of money!” for what seemed like forever when it was unveiled, one – most of the money was awarded specifically to build this and two – you shamed your city by being a complete donk. I mean, if nothing else, it’s very bad manners. The statue looks out to sea representing someone looking out to new worlds and it is terrifically impressive when you see it. I found it quite moving actually and am not that keen on trolls who haven’t even seen it passing judgement online.
So, there is my review of the arts. Take that Mary Beard. Try not to be too much in awe of my knowledge and insight. There’s nothing from the telly because all that is on the telly is football (no complaints here) and Love Island. Can I just say, I have no idea how Love Island exists. I will not go into the sordid details here but the fact that people are willing to do this for our “entertainment” just does my head in. These are real people and already one of them is getting death threats. It’s like some terrible George Orwell prediction. Trust me. You are much better off with a football match, a nice glass of wine and a rousing chorus of Sweet Caroline. Possibly not over the balcony though. Common behaviour. have a good week.