Thursday, September 28, 2006

out

... for the next couple of days, because I'm heading to Cochin. Keep the Internetz safe, and have a beautiful weekend. There will be no pictures when I return, for I have no camera. Well, there will be pictures. Just not of Cochin.

Monday, September 25, 2006

fly away, monday. fly away fast.

eta: One more for Project Objectify: Isheeta bags the man of all our dreams, Evgeny Plushenko. If you do nothing else in this world, watch that video, I beseech you.

--

I was going to post up some thoughts about Dor, wot I watched last night, but apparently four cups of coffee + four hours of sleep are not something I can handle on Monday evening without my brain exploding. So before I go bouncing off the walls singing 'Sugar Baby Love' -- I enjoyed the film. It was quite clunky and the acting and the script were all off, but it had an interesting story and looked very fresh and had some charm. Why, though, does Nagesh Kukunoor insist on inserting himself into his films? I have no carefully considered observation, barbed or otherwise, to make here, because that would require focus. It's an honest question. As honest as 'Why God Why?' which has become my rallying cry ever since I started making more money.

The major parts re: the rest of my weekend described here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

things that make me cry

Because they piss me off.

+ The fact that the song I'm currently listening to on repeat is 'Who Do You Think You Are,' from an obscure '90's album called "Spice," put out by the talented but undeservedly obscure band of women who called themselves the Spice Girls. It reminds me of a simpler time when we were young, and I actually considered myself a Spice Girls fan. I weep for lost innocence.

+ Joseph Ratzinger and his opposition, the Nun-Killers of Mogadishu.

+ Orkut messages. The other day I got bombed with three identical forwards that read as follows:


IIT Bombay student Anupam Biswas 5th Year Mechanical Engg is suffering
from Colukabki (caused due to excessive nabad and depression) a disease
very rarely found (3 in a billion). His condition is very pathetic and
the treatment is very expensive, obviously his parents are not able to
afford his treatment. Orkut has agreed to pay 1 paisa after each time
this message is forward. So please pass to all ur friends.


Here's to finding new answers to the question, 'how stupid? HOW stupid?'

+ Evidently, not more stupid than myself. Last week I locked my front door and rushed out to work, discovering only when I got home at eight that night that I'd left the keys in the lock. This week I seem to have lost my specs.

+ The fact that, in 'The Devil Wears Prada,' they make Meryl Streep wear A-line miniskirts. Primary schoolteacher-wear in a film about high fashion! I half expected her to turn around and ask me to say my thirteen-times table in front of the class.

+ The fact that, in 'The Devil Wears Prada,' Anne Hathaway has less personality than a wet dishcloth.

+ This 'Stupid Girls' song by Pink. It's sad that she cares so much about Paris Hilton. I mean, I understand that the point of the song was to berate girls who care too much about Paris Hilton, but seriously, lady, no good at making feminist cred if you're standing around slagging off other blonde girls.

+ Did I mention the pope? I'm going to undertake the dangerous chance of linking to Christopher Hitchens twice in the space of, what, fifteen posts.

I'd also like to mention that the words 'WHY GOD WHY?' miss the spirit of the question and throw up lots of for-serious religious websites on Google.

What Makes Me Happy, on the other hand:

1. De Ludo Globi.

2. 'I'm Not Like Everybody Else' by Jimmy and the Boys.

3. Zee Sports.

current musix: dulce pontes - ferreiro.

Monday, September 18, 2006

on munich

The sister of my heart Kate/Bob was out of Bombay this weekend. She was visiting my funny, ugly step-childlike neck of the woods, where autorickshaw meters run too fast, and packets of instant noodles have been known to disappear into the cavernous maw of the aether, and where it is beautiful when it rains. (Your eyeliner is here, by the way. You aren’t having it back, as I’ve already used up most of it practicing my gawth chica impression. Sorry.)

We spent a mostly vegetative weekend consuming television and cinema. What does it say about Hyderabad that Munich, released a full four months earlier elsewhere in India, stumbled mistakenly into an early evening PVR show last week, while The Devil Wears Prada splashed across our own silver screens right alongside those in the vibrant, pulsating cultural hubs of Bombay, Gurgaon and Whathaveyoupur? (If, even in jest, one feels like attempting an answer to the question, one may want to consider shoving it.) I’m glad to have seen both films in a space of thirty-six hours, and in that way that everything has of relating to everything else, I found that both films have in common markedly similar ways of leaving unanswered questions hanging in the air above one’s tiny head. Something tells me that this was not the intention of the makers of TDWP.

Spielberg, on the other hand, seemed to be pushing very hard for most of three hours to do anything but answer questions. I liked both films, in the sense that DWP left me unoffended and temporarily amused, while I senselessly adored Munich, which tried so damn hard, and apparently I am the sort of person that grades on effort. It was overlong and melodramatic, but it’s been long since I watched a film that used length and melodrama as means that successfully justified the ends. I was one of those who missed Spielberg-mania, but Munich definitely opened a window through which dawning realisation trickles in. I haven’t seen a film that leaves so many questions unanswered to satisfaction.



I think what Spielberg really succeeded in tackling, in a very poetic fashion for what is, on several levels, a smart, sinister action-thriller, is the idea of home – home as something prosaic and annoying, even ultimately disillusioning, on the one hand, but precious and necessary for survival on the other. The way the narrative lingers, in speech and visuals, on the shapes of houses, hotels and families was exactly reminiscent of the also-flawed but interesting Salman Rushdie. Rushdie has answers in the end, though – no man’s land is his home; his books tell us that the person of no country, if wretched, is also incredibly fortunate. Spielberg offers no such comfort to anyone, not the ordinary folk, not the (very nice!) terrorists, and least of all to Avner, the Mossad agent who is his central character. There’s a moment of brilliance at the end of the film, when Avner, played by Eric Bana, confronts his boss (an exceptional Geoffrey Rush), who asks him why, after everything Avner has done for the sake of his homeland, he has chosen exile – such a loaded word in the Jewish context – in a different land. Avner doesn’t answer; he asks, in return, why they believe that murdering terrorists will make Israel any safer, since younger, angrier men will replace them each time. Rush’s answer is pithy and evasive, pure rhetoric: “Why do I cut my fingernails? They grow back.” It isn’t a satisfactory answer, nowhere near enough to induce Avner to return home, in whose service he’s pursued and killed a chain of men responsible for the massacre of the athletes at the ’72 Munich Olympics – if he is any longer convinced at all, at the end, that Israel is worthy of being called home (or is he the one unworthy of Israel? Rush’s character might think so).

Munich has a lot to do with what seems like a classic case of Jewish guilt; its central characters can be said to be stereotypes, in some way – the chatty, kvetchy, good Jews that Spielberg (or Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, the writers) apparently cannot reconcile with Israelis who aggressively pursue survival and other, less-vaunted goals in the Middle East today. The Palestinians are all young, emotional; wrong-headed, but passionate, and desperate and human. How do they ever get any work done? You see where Spielberg is coming from, though – and just the volumes of criticism heaped on him for raising even these basic questions of rectitude and moral justice make it evident that even going this far doesn’t turn on any of the empathy taps in the US media.

I enjoyed the film because it didn’t have any answers. Names and crimes do change from generation to generation, but neither fact nor fiction seems capable of providing solutions to the problems of the Middle East, and I respect the fact that Munich’s concerns, while grand, weren’t all that grand. It played out the realisation of its only simple conclusion – blood calls for more blood – in a captivating way. It is enormously sympathetic to both sides and endorses neither, and I was far more moved by that than I was by Crash. Crash used a smaller canvas, and it had a tight script, but I always thought it was a bit too glib, and having seen Munich, I can’t imagine how anyone would think Crash was smarter or more insightful in any way.

Serious love for the cinematography and the look – the recreation of the seventies in cities across Europe, Israel and America was masterful, but the interiors, oh. The motel rooms, the safe houses, the cars and elevators and the kitchens were something else. The music did tend to veer into schlock, but never too completely to undermine the dizzying effects of Bill Withers in a smoky dark room, or the Israeli anthem picked out hesitantly on a piano. Perhaps the only part of the film I actively disliked was the inter-cutting of the final sequence of the Munich murders with a sex scene, but the Olympics sequence in itself was terrific – claustrophobic, violent, and tragic. The performances were very satisfying, too. Eric Bana obviously had the role of a lifetime, to which he rose well, I thought, and Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds and Matthieu Kassovitz were all spot on. And I’m determined to watch a James Bond film for the first time come November, possibly more than once, just because I am convinced of Daniel Craig’s brilliance. (He’s also playing Asriel in the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, which now means that I will explode if this film isn’t made soon enough. He proves my truly detestable weakness for evil men beyond all reasonable doubt.) This certainly takes the sting out of the unmitigated embarrassment that was The Terminal, and I’m very interested to see what Spielberg does next.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

a very special day for project objectify

Today, 9.30 a.m.:

Viv: blogging at a feverish pace, are we?
Me: expect another lightning-fast blog today! it's my mum's birthday.
Viv: happy birthday to her! please do blog. also try not to mention the word football in a blog about your mom's birthday.
Me: ... but it's fabio cannavaro's birthday too!
Viv: * gives up *
Me: i like both of them so very much, after all. especially my mum. and canna. in very different ways.

Seriously, even my mum would appreciate getting pictures of Cannavaro in her email. She doesn't follow footer and may not know why it makes one feel glad that the team one supports has Cannavaro standing around its goal, being ice-cool, reading the game smartly, bringing an almost vicious streak of efficiency to the game. She doesn't really care about the way he makes one-eighty degree switches from 'this is my Batman face' during penalties to licking the World Cup joyously. She probably did not meet one of her closest friends in the course of a conversation about him back during the 2002 World Cup, when one was vaguely hoping for Italy to win although one was shielding one's heart from sport and sportsmen at the time (and what a good thing that turned out to be). But my mum likes a beautiful man as much as the next person.

The very first time I understood what the word 'pulchritude' meant was when reading an old issue of Sportstar. It was used in relation with the beautiful, doomed Gabriela Sabatini - who made the sort of story that makes some people very happy, and other people very disgusted with the way the purveyors and customers of popular media function. I mean, everyone knows sportswomen are subject to a different kind of scrutiny from menfolk; hence the ridiculous short skirts on tennis courts when male players are running around in baggy shorts, hence Anna Kournikova even considered as competition to, in their heyday, Martina Hingis; hence Sepp Blatter suggesting that women footballers need to wear sexy clothes to be noticed.

Do the same standards hold true for sportsmen's excursions into the field of glamour and high fashion? Ha. To believe so is to indulge in a moderately high degree of self-kidding. Viv and I were talking about this after he saw the cover of Cosmopolitan Italy featuring sculpted-to-the-satisfaction-of-the-Roman-Empire Canna*, who posed for it wearing nothing but a football: we agreed that having a nude sportsman pose on the cover was different from Cosmo's standard-issue female supermodel covers. He isn't required to display his glutes o' granite for a living, or for anything, really, other than the attention (How understandable! When does the captain of an international football team and arguably the world's best defender ever get enough attention?). Is it's very purposelessness ennobling? Does it complicate his position with his team or his sponsors or his fans? Does it make me feel like an accomplice in exploitation when I look at one of his legion of topless pictures (I'm positive Cannavaro's the ONLY footballer for whom a Google Image search will throw up a nude photograph among the first ten results)?

No. No. And yes, slightly - but on the whole, no.


--
* I wish I could find someplace the image is hosted on the 'net, so that I could offer a link; I could load it directly on to this post, but for some odd reason, covering my blog with pictures of naked men doesn't seem like the marvellous idea it no doubt is in a parallel universe. In the meanwhile, have this one.



Happy birthday, mum!

eta: Mum's birthday was good, Canna's sucked spectacularly. Madrid's slipped up to Lyon. To my chagrin, Ten Sports insisted on broadcasting Man U/Celtic, which, from what I saw of it - around Saha's second goal - was shabby. Milan, thankfully, did not do anything to upset the pecking order. It's nice that Pippo Inzaghi's manifestation of his alternate persona as goal-machine coincides with their season.

And there are further posts in this vein: Aishwarya objectifies Rafael Nadal, and Szerelem pays tribute to Zinedine Zidane.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

objets de foot

Champions League begins today. Many of you doubtless read Aishwarya's pithy mulling over the correct ways to watch sport; rest assured that I and she, and all the best sort of ladies, believe that if a game is worth watching, it is worth watching exquisitely, dramatically, and frivolously.

Let it be stated for the record that I'm rooting in crude and obvious fashion for gli diavoli, the closest thing to a pinup club in European club football, home to men of patrician noses, great hair and mean, mean - if not one hundred percent effective - football: the Rossoneri, or, A C Milan. Arsenal is second, just a notch above Real Madrid, and Inter Milan is my seekrit love. That traitorous Zlatan, he's some dude.

The Italians look poised to have a bad season, considering the Calciopoli cases that have shooken them up, and given how the traditional and proper thing for a team, any team that isn't Brazilian footer or Australian cricket or Ro-Fed King of Tennis, is to be slaughtered by everyone else immediately after they've won themselves a dramatic, flamboyant fight to be called world champions. Madrid have won some and lost some, and Cannavaro has - as Isheeta sharply noted - been making himself useful to them in a very puzzling fashion, mostly by leaving his defensive position, what he is paid to stand at, all across at the other end of the field, to come by and shoot some goals for them.

Arsenal's had a pathetic start to the EPL season, which should really not be allowed, because Arsenal? Good side. In fact, if Thierry Henry actually aims at the goal more often? Really good side.

Thierry is the first desirable male athlete I'd like to gratuitously draw attention to, for no reason other than that he is Thierry Henry. When talking about footer over Isheeta (as occurs more often than you would believe. Really) she mentioned the sort of stereotypes that hang around international teams: Brazil has flair, the English are fast, the Italians are a bunch of sly Machiavellian divers (l0lz) and the French are elegant. Thierry Henry, unfortunately for brave sterotype-busters, is elegant. One understands, objectively, that he is, in spite of his whoops-feet-of-butter! start to EPL 2006, a truly fantastic player, one of France's superstars, Arsenal's all-time highest scorer, and a force to be recked with. Deal, someone has to be doing all this. But to make it look so stylish, so fluidly beautiful - that's got to be something. The records are just stats, after all. Thierry Henry makes football look callisthenic. I don't know how he manages that with what often looks like just the flick of an ankle.



O, did a better man ever wear puffed sleeves and knee socks (don't say James I, you will be summarily disembowelled)?

(That picture would not have made it to this blog without the ingeniosity of her.)

i swear i didn't take the bad drugs

I did dose myself heavily with Vikoryl (and a touch of brandy) to facilitate sleeping like a very sleepy baby and waking up without an abominably stuffed nose, but not even my brain on crack could have thought of doing this.

At least ten stingrays have been found dead and mutilated on Australia’s eastern coast in the last week in what conservationists believe could be revenge attacks for the death of Steve Irwin, the popular naturalist and television personality...

The dead stingrays have been discovered on two beaches in Queensland state, where Mr Irwin lived and ran his popular wildlife park, Australia Zoo. Two of the unfortunate rays, discovered today, were retrieved with their tails lopped off, according to local fishery officials.


Not even if I was a Steve Irwin fan, instead of a random Vikoryl-dependent and fuzz-head. Killing fish? For a dude that fed his kid to a crocodile? Come on, you sick fucks.

Friday, September 08, 2006

tag the dawg

I was tagged for a meme several days ago by Bitch|Lab, a blogger of superior talents, and never had the chance to do it thanks to this real life bug that's been going around for a while now. Symptoms of this included a) getting promoted at work b) listening to Bon Jovi again and c) watching a lot of useless honestly fucking annoying telly at home, as I was too tired to do anything else (I'm also secretly reading Superman fanfiction, but let's pretend I never said this).


Glad as I am that I missed seeing so much as a hint of Italy's disastrous Euro 2008 qualifiers, I do wish my eyeballs had escaped the fate of being imprinted with such cretinous advertisements for products such as the Tea Of Women's Emancipation. I suppose Tetley's is trying to make a point and deviate from such befuddling product pimps as the Deodorant Meant To Be Confused With Women's Underwear ("Pink or Black?" How about "Run Along And Finish Your Homework, You Creepy Little Zits"?) or the “Turn Me Into A Curvy Bottle, I’m Alice In Pornderland!” soft drink. The Tetley's ad is a comparative island of inoffesiveness. Or: Is It? Iyanno. It annoys me. The conflict between the evil husband and the woman-slave makes my teeth ache. I love tea and I am prepared to accept that it changes everything for the better, but really good tea would allow her to get a divorce and run away to Bombay, rather than stay on in the carcerous confines of the patriarchal tool that is Northern Railways.

But I’m doing the meme now.

1. One book that changed your life?

The Silmarillion, in several significant ways. One, I discovered high fantasy. Two, the amazing tragedy of an ordered universe. Three: elves! Elves who save each other by chopping off hands! Four: some of my closest friends today, whom I first met online to geek out about Tolkien.

2. One book you have read more than once?

The Last Samurai, by Helen DeWitt. Even talking about this book makes me jealous of everyone who’s heard of it for the first time and is only just about to discover it. I read bits of it practically once every three days.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Something that explained clearly and concisely how to get the hell offa there and back to the nearest city? I’m not so good in places rural and remote. I value solitude, but I must have it in urban surroundings.

4. One book that made you cry?

When I was 12 years old, Heidi. Many of you have probably guessed that I talk a lot because I’m overcompensating for my streak of repression, forged through long hardship in the fires of moral uprightness at my local convent school. I was a pious child. Heidi wanted to go back to her grandfather’s hut in the mountains but couldn’t, even though she spent a lot of time praying about it, and her butler told her that when God didn’t answer prayers it wasn’t because He wasn’t listening, but because He knew what was best for us and withheld our heart’s desire until we were ready to accept it. It was such a comforting thought that the waterworks didn’t turn off until a good two chapters later.

5. One book that made you laugh?

Cold Comfort Farm, the Stella Gibbons classic about a young woman learned, at the cusp of adulthood, in every worldly art save that of making her own living. A friend once posited that Flora Poste would bring about interplanetary peace if she could just be voted in as Galactic Overlord. You know, how Rajnikanth would overthrow known laws of physics if he ruled the world? Yeah. Possibly the best book ever written.

6. One book you wish had been written?

The really exciting one about mad scientists, domineering mothers and the very hot footballer who gets embroiled in a race to save the world from certain destruction before he realizes it.

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Sons and Lovers. Omfg, the ponderous sex and vapid painting. My brain still puckers up in pain when I think of it. DH Lawrence, gah.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Currently I’m reading King Lear. It’s amazing how reading Shakespeare is like having a really, really wonderful boyfriend. (Yes, you can lock me away now. But I will bet you Kit Marlowe thought the same when he saw the first draft of Romeo and Juliet.)

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

The Autobiography of Red, by Anne Carson. Bloody thing’s not to be had for love or money anywhere around here, though.

10. Tag five people.

Okay! Aishwarya, Emily, Kaushik, Vivek and the Vikster.

Notes: I watched Lage Raho Munnabhai last night and mourned Hrishikesh Mukherjee a little more. The film was for the most part very goofy and enjoyable, though. How awesome is Boman Irani, I ask you?

And, Aishwarya and I are embarking on a project: a series of posts on desirable male athletes. We are serious about it. As in, ‘do-I-need-an-excuse-to-do-this?’ serious. I’m open to suggestions. Be prepared, Scouts and Guides.

To conclude, I would like to mention that I did find an advertisement to adore over the course of the past few days: the Nokia one starring Shakespeare-declaiming Gary Oldman, Sexpian Extraordinaire. So, so nummy. Also, am I the last person to notice the MotoRazr billboards with Signors Dolce and Gabbana?

current musix: david bowie - suffragette city.