Thursday, 30 June 2011

Chapter Six

Kat loved food like Dolly Parton loved hair, like George W Bush loved oil and David Icke loved lizards. As a baby she had moved on to solid food in record time. She had baked for first successful soufflé at five and by ten was cooking elaborate dinner parties while her confused peers were trying to work out the dance moves to Steps songs.

In galleries she wanted to lick the art. If she liked people she secretly wanted to bite their fingers and if she was distressed then the only cure was ice cream.

At high school Kat had specialised finding love in sugar craft, creating works of delicious art - cakes that resembled the cakes in children's books stacked high with mouth watering sponge and eye clotting cream. Each week her skills grew stronger and she would pour forth in a creative blur, knocking out a meringue David; the Venus di Milo in marzipan or Guernica splattered across sponge in raspberry crème and lemon curd.

Kat had forsaken everything else and grown joyfully plump until the other kids teased her and the teachers began to fret, fearing problems at home. It stood to reason that fat kids were always secretly unhappy.

Eventually her folks were called into the school and cooking privileges had been replaced with tennis lessons, a bereft Kat was forced underground.

Instead she had become a very successful burglar, sneaking into closed down cafes and pubs in the middle of the night, evading alarms and side stepping security to happy baffle morning cleaners with perfect breakfasts of cakes and scones. That was, until she had read the blog.

The blog had changed everything. From standing alone she had suddenly felt a part of a crowd, a group of misfits and strange people who had gathered together under Natasha. Natasha, the one who had been brave enough to act, who had been strong enough to unite them all.

Ever since the blog had exploded all over their screens the group had began to bond, commenting, emailing, tweeting and finding each other. Natasha was the key. If only she'd email back.

But Kat had been blessed, for the first time in a year she realised that destiny had tapped her on the shoulder - because she recognised Natasha, Natasha was the woman over the road. The strange woman over the road whose boyfriend had left about six months ago, who didn't smile back, who had stopped opening the curtains. Who had known that all that gloom was a masquerade? A brilliant disguise for a brilliant woman who was destined to change the world.

Finally Kat had plucked up the courage to visit.


There was a fat teenage goth on the doorstep carrying a cake box. This couldn't be good. She'd been there for twenty minutes and it didn't look like she was going away. There was also the promise of cake, but Natasha was pretty sure that it would cost her soul, or at least having to do something more than just standing up from the couch.

Another twenty minutes later and there was a fat teenage goth in her kitchen cooking something that smelled like childhood beach holidays crossed with meadows full of wild flowers garnished with a naked Johnny Depp.

"We've got to hurry," said Kat adding the finishing touches of icing to a buttercreme Angel of the North. "We're meeting everyone else in an hour……"Do you think you should maybe get dressed?"

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Chapter 5

Natasha had been forced by an uncaring society to give in to the phenomena of social networking. Mostly because aforementioned society had stopped calling her and she wanted them to at least see her as she stamped her feet and screamed like a Hilton at the MTV awards.

Since joining Facebook she had threatened to kill herself for myriad reasons, from the use of the Velvet Underground in adverts to the wearing of polo shirts( in general) or the existence of mayonnaise. Society had continued not to care.

It was unlikely that Sarah had been referring to Natasha's most recent status update in her well timed final dig. It was also likely, given past experiences, that Natasha had gone ahead and done something altogether more stupid. 595 emails more stupid.

Scraping at an elderly pizza stain on her brownish sofa she contemplated how long she'd been out for, she'd passed out on Tuesday at 8pm, prime terrible property programme time, so what time was it now? She flicked on the TV and vommed a little bit inside.

Two days? How had two days passed?

Running to the sink and gulping water she nervously grabbed her laptop. If the brain was really made up of water then perhaps it was possible to down two days worth of cells in one. Maybe open up a neurological pathway circumventing her innate sense of hang over. Prior tequila incidents told her differently, however, waking up with an evening missing with a living room full of traffic cones and a clown in her bed were always a strange explanation for a night where she was convinced she'd passed out by 10pm. Her emails were confusing:

"Dear Natasha, forgive the unsolicited email, I just felt I had to…."

"Hi Natasha, it was great meeting you the other day. I'm still interested in coming to the protest on Saturday…."

"Fatso, nice work on fuelling the obesity crisis…."

Logging in to her histories a blog link shone out like a turd a jewellery box. Oh crap.

The internet was like the sober kid at the school reunion, phoning you on your hangover day to remind you exactly who you demonstrated your bottle felatio technique to. The internet was like a Liam Neeson movie, no love, merely a search for deadly revenge.

This was clearly not the point of view of her hammered self, she cringed as she read her wobbly words:

"When I was twelve I decided to go on a diet and I stopped eating cake. To this day if I eat cake I feel guilty. It has done nothing to enhance my life. I haven't lost weight, I'm not going to live forever, I haven't found a career or a boyfriend or a single good experience as a result of avoiding cake.

Two hours ago I failed to kill myself and it's the best thing I've ever done. I have truly woken up and I'm going to change the world."

She stopped reading right there, not merely because she was being plagued by visions of compounds in Texas but because she didn’t need to read any more. Her brain was spewed out before her, the same idea that had kept popping up since her sixth birthday party. Or at least the aftermath of her sixth birthday party.

No one had attended Natasha's sixth birthday party save for a couple of mandatory cousins and a neighbourhood child who had sat licking the lurid green snot that flowed down her upper lip until most people would have rather gauged out their eyes with a spoon than eat pudding.

She'd taken the excess cake into school on Monday and suddenly the kids approached her, pimping their friendship for a momentary slurp of sugar icing. It was so simple. For cake you could buy someone's soul.

Natasha had expanded her philosophy into and beyond her teens, eventually reasoning that via free cake it was possible to garner world peace and create global equality - it just needed to start with one person, one brave person handing out cake to their fellow commuters - sharing love, buying their souls.

But the dream had died in London, with every commute, every tourist she'd narrowly avoided kicking and every homeless guy she'd stepped over she had lost the belief that humans were capable of anything other than cluttering up the place. She'd started to understand that hers was a life made for the couch. Eventually her ambition became to eat and sleep and wake up to find that the world had been irreparably changed for the better by someone else.

Or at least most of her had. Apparently the bits of her brain affected by cough medicine and cheap whiskey hadn't received the "Natasha is lazy now, stop plotting ways to change the world" memo. The unconscious crazy side of her had apparently just accosted a load of commuters wielding Battenberg and had accrued 595 replies and counting. What was wrong with all these people? Each leaping with joy to drink the Kool Aid from the nearest dribbling wreck.

Blog Natasha, the one John Belushi would have liked, had posted pictures of herself at six different train stations, communing, bonding, feeding - organising and plotting. But then, like any good junky, she'd fucked off, leaving behind scared Natasha, terrified Natasha, deciding whether to smash her laptop to pieces or just to do a duck and cover under the kitchen table.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Movie review time....."I didn't get to the end, but I hope both characters die horribly"

I managed to distract myself at lunchtime by reading some of the movie 
reviews I've put on Lovefilm over the last year or so. I'm quite pleased 
with some of them..... Have a read if you dare xxx 

  • Things Behind The Sun
  • Things Behind The Sun on DVD (2001) 
    Director: Allison Anders
    Certificate: Certificate: 18
    First let me state that I love Allison Anders films. Gas Food Lodging
     and Grace of My Heart are two of my favourite movies of all time.
    Things Behind the Sun will never feature in that list, but it was brave
     and compelling viewing. Stylistically the movie seems to owe more to
    the more experimental end of American indie (the wonky shot set ups
     and slightly wooden acting remind me of The Living End) than previous
    and arguably slicker productions by Anders. The theme is one which
    has been left relatively unexplored apart from in made for tv productions,
     which is a travesty, because Things Behind The Sun approaches its
    subject with a brutality and emotional honesty that left me shocked and 
    angry. The acting could have been better, the ending seemed a little
    cobbled together but I fully recommend watching this film.

  • Morvern Callar
  • Morvern Callar on DVD (2002) 
    Director: Lynne Ramsay
    Certificate: Certificate: 15
    Watch now: £2.49
    I'll confess now that I've never seen Ratcatcher - it's on my list but I
    was at university embedded in a cheap bottle of something in that bit
    of the nineties so managed to somehow miss the boat. As a result
    I never realised how stylistically brave and interesting Lynne Ramsey's
    films are. Morvern Callar mostly struck me for its use of sound montage, 
    frequently at odds with the visuals and representing the central
    character's detached mental state. 
    Samantha Morton shines as ever as the title role, eternally broken,
    longing, generous and needy. The rest of the cast are also very accomplished.

  • Twentynine Palms
  • Twentynine Palms on DVD (2005) 
    Director: Bruno Dumont
    Certificate: Certificate: 18
    I seldom stop films half way through and vow not to get to the end and
     believe me I've sat  through some stinkers, but this movie left me leaping
     towards the stop button in near record time. A class clown from the
    Gus Van Sant school of - just follow the characters around slowly whilst
    they mumble in the foreground school of film-making, but with none 
    of the shock, charm or meaning of such gems as Elephant or Last Days. 

    I only fathomed the plot of this movie by reading it on this website, long
    turbulent sex scenes were reminiscent of the Catherine Bruilat / Bas Moir
     / all sex is rape movies that do for French cinema what Michael Winner
     has done for British. 

    The scenery is very pretty. 

    Avoid unless you are an insominac in a turbulent relationship who likes

  • Crazy Streets
  • Crazy Streets on DVD (1987) 
    Director: Amos Kollek
    Certificate: Certificate: 18
    I fell in love with Amos Kollek after Queenie In Love, his films
    remind me of what American Independent cinema was before it
    descended into a genre consisting of romance films made by
    mainstream studios about 'quirky' people. Crazy Streets, with its 
    offbeat characters, porno acting and bizarre narrative twists is a
     welcome break from standard narrative films, the dry, strange
     humour reminds me of Tom Robbins' novels or even the films
    of Aki Kurismaki. The cool of sleazy 80's New York is a perfect
    setting, Hanna Schygulla is magnificent and Debbie Harry doesn't
    try to do too much but look cool. I say it's well worth the experience.

Watchable suckiness , 23/11/2009

  • Wedding Bell Blues
  • Wedding Bell Blues on DVD (1996) 
    Director: Dana Lustig
    Certificate: Certificate: 15
    Technically this film sucked. Apart from a few extremely good
     lines of dialogue I found the story shambolic and the characters a
     little bit one dimensional. There were moments of  wooden acting
     that even Illeana Douglas - one of the greatest human beings ever 
    created, could not dig her way out of. 

    However, and this may be down to my menstrual cycle or a hidden
    charm, I found the movie to be compulsive viewing. Maybe it's the
    novelty of seeing a film about three women who did deviate slightly
    from the desperate for male attention / cutesy / ditsy / clumsy / oooh
    don't you just want to take her home and look after her / writers for
    fluffy womens magazines that contemporary rom coms need to
    convince us all we want to be / love. It also had Debbie Reynolds
    and Richard Edson (admitedly the latter did very little apart from sit
    there, but it's great to see him working) in it - which is a reason unto itself. 


  • Wendy and Lucy
  • Wendy and Lucy on DVD (2009) 
    Director: Kelly Reichardt
    Certificate: Certificate: 15
    Watch now: Unavailable
    This is a beautiful movie, this is a glorious movie. This is a movie
    about a woman who doesn't strip, shoot or pine for a husband
    and I wish that there were more of them. 

    Like Old Joy, Reichard's second film concentrates on the subtleties
     of character and the beauty of surroundings (Oregon shines as ever),
    we see human kindness (embodied in the security guard) contrasted
     with a petty mindedness (the store clerk) side by side and 
    seemingly un-judged by the film maker. 

    Most importantly we see Wendy - a character who is trying to make
    her way quietly through the world, unknown even to the audience
    who watch her. 

    Wendy and Lucy drifts along in a quiet, mellow haze telling a
    rootless story and it's well
     worth every second.
Do it! , 19/11/2009

  • Timecode
  • Timecode on DVD (2000) 
    Director: Mike Figgis
    Certificate: Certificate: 15
    The fear is that Timecode will leave you riddled, as the
    movie began (on a Wednesday evening as my eyelids gained
    downward momentum) I feared that it may turn out to be 
    a cinematic brownie pack on tartrazine, with me as Brown
     Owl. Thankfully this was not the case. Although demanding
    on the eyes the story is somewhat unambitious and well 
    played out, leaving the technique to shine. Jeanne Tripplehorn
     and Salma Hayek camp it up fabulously; Stellan Skaarskard
    crumbles before our eyes and Holly Hunter / Stephen
     Weber don't do nearly enough. 

    I loved the use of sound cues and music to drive the viewer
     between shots and Mike Figgis' ability to mock himself for his
     own pretentiousness via the character of the film-maker, who
     drags her nu metal boyfriend along to pitch the concept for the film
     to the audience. 

    If you can get through the first five minutes of feeling like a movie
    producer in a room full
     of coked up drama students it's well worth a go.
Massive piece of crap , 20/06/2011

  • Waiting
  • Waiting on DVD (2005) 
    Director: Rob McKittrick
    Certificate: Certificate: 15
    Please do yourselves a favour and don't bother with this piece
    of crap movie. The writer watched Clerks and then took a giant turd
    and thus this homophobic piece of crap was born. A must for
    anyone who believes that making jokes about gays or people with 
    disabilities is edgy and cool.

  • The Family Stone
  • The Family Stone on DVD (2005) 
    Director: Bezucha Thomas
    Certificate: Certificate: 12
    I watched The Family Stone for the second time yesterday.
    There were three reasons for this, firstly, it was Christmas
    and I've managed to lose my copies of it's a wonderful life / 
    Muppets Christmas Carol and One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing;
     secondly - I have a girl crush on Rachel Macadam and thirdly -
    I remembered it being bad but couldn't remember why. I now
    remember why. 

    The initial premise, as referred to in the trailer, is okay - typical
     Hollywood fare: bloke brings uptight fiancee home for Christmas -
    staging struggle between groovy right on family and slightly odd
    woman. Family decide to hate woman on the advice of a slightly 
    smug sister because fiancee clears her throat a lot. Mother and
     sister launch hate campaign against said fiancee. So this would
    normally conclude with - family and woman clash with hilarious
    consequences but are finally reunited when, I don't know - wise
    and hilarious grandmother ends up in hospital and is rescued by
    uptight fiancee - cue mulled wine and snow. 

    This doesn't happen in The Family Stone - instead the most
    cobbled together story known to humanity ensues, which succeeds
     in baffling and reeking horrific discomfort to the viewer in equal
     measure. Read instead: family wage seemingly unprevoked hate 
    campaign against uptight woman while son does little to stop this.
     Mother turns out to be dying - justifying hate campaign(?);
    younger sister is only mean because she hasn't
     been getting any; the coupling of the black guy and the deaf
    brother teaches us that it's okay to be black, deaf and gay all in
     one go (without having any other personality traits 
    whatsoever) and the pregnant sister accomplishes nothing apart
    from confusing me about what she'd been in previously (Greys
    Anatomy - duh!). Financee's sister turns up falls in love with her
    sister's man - which is fine because she's hot and they shared a
    whole scene together filled to the brim with dialogue about how
    she travels - and he wants to; other brother (Luke Wilson playing
     David Arquette) falls for fiancee because he finds her attractive
    and apparently her personality changes completely when she's
    drunk- which is okay because his brother is knocking off her sister
     at the same time. 

    Mother dies - everyone else is fine. The end. 
    Now I'm not a stickler for technique in screenwriting, but surely a
     rom-com; or a rom-dram or a dram-rom-com or whatever the f***
    this film is supposed to be, shouldn't leave the audience feeling
    like they've been groped by an ugly drunk man in a santa suit?

    I fully recommend watching One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing though.
    Your rating: 0.5 stars out of 5 59% from 32,826 members

  • Dancing At The Blue Iguana
  • Dancing At The Blue Iguana on DVD (2000) 
    Director: Michael Radford
    Certificate: Certificate: 18
    From the first few moments of this movie I feared that I was
    being lead into one of the more  generic of the post Tarantino
    late 90's offerings, luckily this wasn't the case. I had 
    ordered the film because of Jennifer Tilly and Sandra Oh, both
     extremely talented, versatile and charming actors, and was
     not disappointed. 

    Oh, Tilly and Daryl Hannah all give excellent performances,
    with extra points for having created and researched the characters
     themselves, in a film that shines some light on what is a pretty
    heinous and exploitative industry. 

    I'm guessing that the movie didn't become a massive success
     and was slated around these parts because, despite the actors
     best efforts there is a discomfort between the dance sequences,
     which I think are supposed to be sexy and the rest of the movie 
    which is a (gasp) film about women's relationships with other
    women. If you're in it for a jostle I think it will leave you feeling
    ripped off, then again, what do I know? loads of people are into
    doe eyed exploited, broken people writhing about slowly, that's
     why the pop industry exists. 

    Otherwise the only let down seems to be Sheila Kelley's brunette
    bambi impression, coupled with the blank eyed-they won't notice
     because it's art- performance of Elias Koteas (career highlight Teenage
     Mutant Ninja Turtles the Movie) Suffice to say no shock was
    registered a when Kelley's name appeared under the producers list. 

    I also recommend watching the documentary about the making
    of, where Darryl Hannah shows you the real person who inspired
    her character.