I last wrote about my diaries in September. Since it’s been almost a year I don’t expect DIR readers to remember where I left off. It was my semester in London. I’ve already worked through the diary for the books mentioned in it, and I copied out some anecdotes. This post goes back through the diary to check out my comments on movies, music and live theatre.
I made an effort to get conversant with the London’s small club music scene. Others could afford to do big concerts, not me.
Also searched for small theater (especially gay theater).
I tried to take advantage of the big city amenities – art galleries, ethnic restaurants, foreign cinema.
Beginning of November I started a volunteer DJ gig at the Imperial College radio station.
Pathfinder, “the first motion picture made entirely in the Lap language and filmed amidst the snow & rocks of Lapland”
Drowning By Numbers, It was my birthday “so I dragged Chris to Drowning By Numbers -- even paid for it as the poor dear has spent away all her money. … Afterward Chris teased me about moaning, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no,’ during the movie. OK, I got into it. Good flicker. Great for Halloween. Lovely weird little black comedy.”
Law of Desire, “Good movie! … very poignant and the gayness of the characters is not a theme but rather themes are duplicity and love and unrequited love and obsession and passion and so on.”
Alice, a stop-motion animation version of Alice in Wonderland, “unusual, weird, rather more slowmoving than I’d have wished, fairly faithful to the book. I wouldn’t give it a wild recommendation but if you’re in the mood—“
The Fruit Machine, “okay, if somewhat muddled”
The Curse of the Cat People, watched it on TV
Yeelen, an African movie, “very well made, a lot of lovely scenery and interesting faces in closeup; although I could follow the motion of the plot, could make out its bone structure, yet the details were not always clear. Couldn’t catch all the symbolism. Left me feeling oddly depressed.”
music (these were 7” singles I bought in used record stores):
“Running All Over the World” by Staus Quo – “the theme song for Sport Aid … Chris tells me she read in the news that Sport Aid went bankrupt”
“No Clause 28” by Boy George – a political protest song! Clause 28 was Maggie Thatcher’s no-teachee-the-gay legislation to swat school teachers.
Pop Will Eat Itself – “sorta like The Ramones, only not as good”
Living Colour – “hard rock – blecch”
Cocteau Twins – “good”
from one live show in Camden Town:
Law of Fives (live) – “bearable … they got irritable after awhile over the audience’s lukewarm reception.”
The Horseflies (live) – “from America … rockified traditional American fiddle & banjo music”
Rodney Allen (live) – “Cute little teenager … pleasant rock … in the mode of Bryan Adams”
The Jack Rubies (live) – “very good … I have two of their songs on records I bought at the used record shop”
The Blue Aeroplanes (live) – “[they] construct a wall of sound and push it over on you”
my Imperial College radio show:
“Glad to Be Gay” by Tom Robinson – a song on the Imperial College playlist that I included in my first show
“Changes” by David Bowie and “The First Atheist Tabernacle Choir” by the British satiric puppet theater Spitting Image – another student DJ was in the booth talking to me and “I couldn’t keep track of my songs and came into David Bowie’s ‘Changes’ midvoice. Very annoying.”
“Boom Boom Boom (Come Back to My Room)” by Paul Lekakis, a request I played for Dana, a girl who’d barged into the booth with the 7” demanding I play it right away. I put it on after a song by the Cocteau Twins. I found “Boom Boom Boom” appalling: “Boom boom boom / Let's go back to my room / So we can do it all night / And you can make me feel right” … Ugh. A female singer came out with an answer song: “Bam Bam Bam (I Think I’ll Stay Where I Am)”. The search I just ran didn’t produce any hits for the song, unfortunately, so I don’t know who she was.
Venetian Heat, “Italy, WWII, farmer & wife hide 2 army deserters after the Italian army disintegrates. One [soldier] falls in love with the wife, one with the husband. The nazis (one, anyway) show up and make things nasty. The wife’s lover gets shot, dies. The other soldier [escapes] to join the partisans. Wife & husband under arrest.”
The Public, by Federico Garcia Lorca, “very strange, yet exciting, lyrical play. Filled with odd and wonderful imagery – the set design nearly matching the words. And, when the words made no sense, certainly surpassing them. I loved the horses – men with big horse heads, dressed in leotards, carrying trumpets, Juliet with a false bare chest pushing apart her negligee, a naked man hanging from a cross who is attended by a male nurse, a man dressed in bells, another in grape leaves. Rain falling between audience and stage. A huge painted eye. A giant leaf. A soft-sculpture moon. It was not really long. An hour and a half, yet so full it seemed much longer, and confusing so that the minutes stretched out as we tried to peer into them.” This was supposedly the play’s first British production.
The Bacchae “okay, but I didn’t find myself caring much about what happened to the characters except at the very end when [SPOILER ALERT] the mother of the king of Thebes discovers she has been carrying around her son’s head – felt for her, poor dear. The women of the chorus did a number of gross things to themselves during the course of the play – splashing themselves with water, painting themselves with lipstick & eyebrow pencil, wallowing in red wine and oatmeal. Simulated pagan rituals, I suppose.”
Look Back in Anger “I should call it Look At in Anger … The play was written back in the 50s and rather shows it … I thought all the characters were big dips …” I found the abusive main character a real downer, and the women who loved him were total masochists.
Jack the Ripper Walking Tour – “fun but long”
“I went with Julie, Janet, Chris, Tanya, and Shawn to the BBC studios to see a radio show being recorded -- The Law Game. ‘A light-hearted look at points of law. Amusing, yet informative, with Shaw Taylor in charge of the legal quibbles, squabbles, and giggles. With special celebrity guests Alan Titch Marsh, Susan Rae, and Denise Coffey.’ Of course, we’d never heard of the celebrity guests … It was kinda fun.”