Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019: January 5th

Belong's October Language is one of the most beautiful albums I've heard in some time. Close your eyes and drift into a nothing space of faintly glowing radiance and soft, fuzzy waves...

I've been sick for a few days now, spending a lot of time watching movies and reading Nick Cave's And the Ass Saw the Angel, a book I started twelve years ago and never finished. I won't lie; I'm a huge Cave fan, but this is not easy reading. The book is written in a mostly first-person perspective, in the rather baroque hill-speak of protagonist Euchrid Eucrow, the son of an inbred father and a drunk-on-still-mash mother, so the language is biblical and flowery in a terse, over-reaching way. Which is exactly how it should be written, given the author's choice for narrators. I'm always up for a literary challenge, and I wonder if at some point my brain will just "click" to the style and have an easier time with it. That's what happened when I first began reading Irvine Welsh; the phonetic Scottish Brogue threw me at first, but after a while I acclimatized to it and began to read Welsh as easily as anything else. Incidentally, that also helped me when I met him and later, when I traveled to Scotland; I had no problem understanding most people I spoke with. So, I'm sticking with the Cave until it's finished.

This "read what's on the shelf" is a continuation of an initiative I began last year, to finally read a lot of the books I have on my shelf; working at Borders for five years in the 00s, I accumulated a lot I still haven't read. Now that I'm trying to start saving for a house, it makes sense to condition myself to actually read that stuff, to not just jump on Amazon at the mention of everything that sounds cool and order it. I'm not saying I have a moratorium on new books, because there's a ton I want to read, but a healthy, three-old-ones-to-every-new-one mix should help.

Speaking of Welsh, he's an author that, for years, I bought everything he published the day it came out. That changed when I began shifting my reading to a more genre-specific diet, worried that the more literary stuff my tastes were entrenched in was influencing the way I was writing. Not that that's bad; the first two novels I wrote, one of which I'm hoping to finish editing this year and publish, have a more literary bent than Shadow Play, which is straight genre. But to finish Shadow Play, I had to curate my reading more carefully. With Welsh, he influences me so much that I had to swear him off altogether, knowing one day I'd dive right back in. That was 2012, because the last book I read by him was Skagboys. Since then, I've watched as he's published no less than four novels, and I've had to force myself to abstain from each one. But, with Shadow Play finally winding down - I started it in earnest in 2012 - another one of my ideas for 2019 is to flip back out of genre a bit - hence the Cave - and pick up with Welsh where I left off. Can't wait; I really miss the man's writing.

Speaking of Welsh again, I mentioned I've been watching a lot of movies while I've been sick, and the one I just watched this morning definitely makes me yearn for Irvine Welsh's novels; Outcast - not to be confused with the Nick Cage movie of the same name or the Robert Kirkman series on Cinemax - is a 2010 film by Colm McCarthy, a director that has come up in the world since by directing 2016's much lauded The Girl with All the Gifts and Black Mirror season four episode six: Black Museum. In elevator pitch shorthand, imagine Welsh and Warren Ellis writing a story about ancient magick adrift in the shadows of modern Edinburgh. That's this Outcast, and I LOVED this film; it's take on Magick was both enigmatic and practical, a lot like Ellis's Gravel series from some years back.

Also, yesterday I watched:

This I hadn't seen since its initial VHS release in 1992 or '93. I've been fairly afraid to revisit it; Hellraiser: Hell on Earth was actually my introduction to the Hellraiser movies, and you can probably understand then when I tell you I didn't actually rent the first two until three or four years later. Re-watching it now, as a massive fan of those original movies and of the concepts and characters in general, I can say that there are quite a few things about Hell on Earth that I like, most specifically the body horror effects. That said, this is the perfect example of the how Hollywood used to just throw money and special effects at ideas and think that made them better. The culminating sequence in this film, of Pinhead chasing our protagonist through New York, is rife with explosions, car crashes, water mains bursting, glass shattering, and none of it has any point at all in what's happening or even fits the story. It's both sloppy and lazy.

You know, I don't normally go in for home invasion movies. People doing terrible things to people is not really the kind of horror I like. Still, the original Strangers was well made and creepy as all hell, at a time when most studio horror had forgotten how to be subtle with their scares. That trailer, with the knock on the door at two A.M., this is a concept that has occurred to and haunted me since I was a kid. I liked that first film and so knew I'd eventually see the sequel. After watching Prey at Night yesterday, I can say it was good, but really left me with a violence hangover. I don't know that I'd say I enjoyed it, but it wasn't overly disturbing and bookended the first film in a satisfying way, so nice to check it off my list.

Playlist from 01/04:

Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair
Henry Mancini - Charade OST
Paramore - All We Know is Falling

Card of the day:

From the Grimoire, "The Will (Fire) to Materialism (Disks)." This is what I was just talking about above, so nice to come to the end of this post and have this pop up. Literally, the Will to save Money.

No comments: