Wrote a few posts a while ago about how one truly pleasurable way to appreciate art is as a game of 'spot the true thing', Spot the true thing happening despite/under/through/around the scripted frame. Spot it happening by accident, as a break in a pattern of convention, This was after hearing the radiolab pod episode 'la mancha scewjob' about pro wrestling, which argues that people who watch pro wrestling know its fake, but they also know that occasionally real things happen even in scripted shows. Men fight for real. People fall off ropes into the ring and die. Maybe the night you're there is the night that happens, so watch closely.
Jon Stewart's monologue about the Charleston murders felt like this to me. He appeared to speak without notes, and he didn't tell any jokes. You can tell now that he's jaded about the rules and conventions of The Daily Show, and he's straining against them, against the parameters of funny-man-behind-a-desk. Its powerful to watch because we're so used to the rehearsed moves of the role. The relationship between Stewart and his audience is always complicated when the material gets really bleak - they're there to laugh, and its a comedy show, but it can seem totally at odds with the desperation you can feel in Stewart himself. In this segment, he takes that to a kind of extreme - you feel that he's stripped away the role entirely. He starts by explaining the tools of his trade - a few jokes, a few funny noises, paycheck. Like saying 'nothing up my sleeves, no tricks'. Peeling back to what looks and feels like reality. There is pretty much no laughter, and a real sense of relief when a weak pun provides and excuse for applause.
Every few weeks I give blood. Plasma to be exact. Plasma's weird because it comes from your blood but its yellow. They call it 'liquid gold', and they get it out using a centrifuge, and you can freeze it for two years. I'm O-, which makes my blood useful but not universally useful. I'm tall and fairly heavy so they can take the maximum amount. I'm a plump blood fruit, ripe for the leaching.
It's a routine. You do the forms and do the interview, and they prick you with the iron measuring thing, and they take your blood pressure. The questions are always the same and I always know the answers. Still no shingles! Still no chicken pox! Still no needles! It's comforting. I feel like some weird part of me (us? just me?) always kind of yearns to be in hospital, especially when life is stressful and scary. When you're in hospital the world can't expect anything of you. Its real time off. I feel like giving blood is a mini version of that, where the world disappears for a while. I've never seen anyone on a work call in there. No one can tell you that you have better things to do. There are no better things to do.
I get my coffee and my biscuit selection (they have an arrangement with Griffin's and think how much sugar is in that plasma) and get into a book. Plasma takes about an hour so its quite peaceful. I think I got into giving blood because historically I've been wealthier in time than in money. It's something you give willingly. When you're all hooked up they offer you a coffee, and I always accept what the nurses have collectively decided they will call a 'flat white'. It comes in one of those tinted brown glasses. There is no espresso machine, and it is most definitely not a flat white. I'm not about to point it out (though it would be really fun to make a big scene sometime- 'excuse me, but what the fuck is this?'). I bet, though, that if they had a proper barista on site they'd be swimming in blood.
Just discovered Clickhole, The Onion's parody of sites like buzzfeed - viral content and lists and sentimental stories. It's great and will make you hate the internet. For example:
Heartwarming: J.J. Abrams Arranged For This Terminally Ill ‘Star Wars’ Fan To Have A Private Screening Of ‘About Schmidt’
Explore it before they put it behind a paywall, like The Onion...
Here's a STAB pitch for you.
Things have been returning to me lately. And it's made we think about when things returning is good, and when things returning is not so good. This week on the podcast: returned things.
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Claire found my nice raincoat under a pile of stuff at her flat. I lost it in 2009, long before she moved there. Its a good raincoat. My parents bought it. Its gore tex, and it wasn't cheap. I'm glad I never told my parents I lost it. Since then I have acquired and lost two raincoats, one of which just turned up out of nowhere in the first place. Raincoats are like wizards, they come and go as they please. The fact my good raincoat turned up means, in a way, that it was never really lost at all. Just misplaced. Like the sign in I saw in the nurse's office on Monday: 'everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end'.
Found some notes in the pocket, from the show Binge was making at the time. I hope they weren't important.
My ipod touch had been missing since two years ago, during a big storm about this time of year. It was a terrifyingly windy night, and I had to go to rehearsal at anvil house. I figured I had lost it in all the running around, that it was gone with the wind. Yesterday I reached behind me to look for the TV remote, and there it was, in the sofa. It had been there for two years, including when the sofa was carried, upside down, up to this flat a superhuman mover guy. It's funny to pick it up again and for the ipod to behave like nothing's changed. It still knows all my favourite songs. It reminded me to go rehearsal, in 2013. But I've got new devices now, larger and more svelte. I felt a weird sadness thinking about all time I could have had my ipod touch and didn't. Lost time. Especially when you consider that time is not as kind to mobile electronic devices as it is to raincoats. What was lithe and sleek becomes squat and clunky in no time at all. The best years of my ipod's life, stuck in the folds of the sofa. It can't step back into the river of my life. I've moved on. To a Huawei.
I'm thinking this way because at our house we've been watching the French TV series Les Revenants (The Returned), from 2011. The premise of the show is that there's this village where dead people start coming back, and then try and re-enter the lives they left behind. They are the same age they were when they died, but everyone else is older and has tried to move on. It's supernatural and suspenseful and weird, I really recommend it. It's funny though because right now there are these freaky posters around the town. This boy looks like one of the dead characters in the show. Cause dead returned children are the creepiest thing ever. Oh god.
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