05 June 2007

The Persistence of Memory

With any luck—yeah, I know, who am I kidding?—my aged computer will soon be, well, not entirely obsolete. I just shelled out to improve my machine's memory resources ten-fold, and though that won't bring me into the modern age, much less the Vista one, it should make a huge difference. Maybe it'll even do for my sad & ever-so-clunky machine what Viagra did for Bob Dole and inspire a new lease on life. (In case you're wondering how bad things had become: it would regularly take minutes, literally, to switch between two open programs, say Firefox and OpenOffice, minutes in which I, of course, would end up rolling my eyes like Ajax, or uttering litanies of obscenity that would make George Carlin blush.) So, fingers crossed, however creakily and osteoperotically.

Not much to report here, save the same old doldrums— shouldn't that be doldra?—and shit. Except: received a gift yesterday of the old Richard Attenborough pic, Guns at Batasi, courtesy a too-too kind RK. (Wiki link here.) Still to watch it, but it has two of my favourite English actors in it, Jack Hawkins and the sadly under-remembered Dame Flora Robson. Hawkins is well-represented in my movie collection—The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Theatre of Blood—but the only film in my DVD collection with Dame Flora is The Malta Story, also starring Hawkins, and that's hardly a stellar outing for anyone concerned. For you non-cinephiles, Dame Flora remains in many ways the film epitome of Elizabeth I: playing the Queen in Fire Over England and The Sea Hawk, she was terrific and steely, and more than able in both cases to upstage her co-stars, Laurence Olivier (with Vivien Leigh) and Errol Flynn, respectively. (No mean feats, those.) Some actors are welcome to be seen in anything. Flora's one of them-- moreso, in fact, now that older movies are so very, very rarely to be found on TV anymore. BTW, now you know against whom Cate Blanchett is daring to pit herself by playing Elizabeth again. It's like Eddie Murphy endlessly trying to outdo Alec Guinness: admirable to an extent, but entirely unnecessary.

And yes, once again the Not-So-Good, Not-So-Doctor ends up prattling on about an actor unfairly forgot. Please don't forgive me. Consider it an encitement to research.

Also, can't be bothered to give a damn about the Philip Glass setting of the Leonard Cohen pieces from The Book of Longing currently being performed in Toronto. I should be interested, very interested in fact, but The Book of Longing was such a piece of crap I decided it wasn't even worth writing about here. It also doesn't help that my initial response to Glass isn't much different than Springfield's. No one does Cohen well anymore, not even Cohen—or rather, especially not Cohen. Sigh.

On the other hand, there remains that Zelda is now dissertation-free, and now simply trudging through the last bits that will formalize her Piled Higher and Deeperness. (Don't make me drag Petey out again: I keep him retired for a reason.) Her success, well-earned but also inevitable, reminds me how little I ultimately have to say. Or, rather, how little I have to say in that form. I just don't give a damn about that audience anymore.

That realization, however, has led me to some much more awkward realizations, none of which I'll detail here. It's all so Henry James: And there we are….

Or maybe Leonard Cohen, fourteen years ago: Looks like freedom but it feels like death. Or maybe exactly the opposite. It's probably a paradox one has to be a Cavalier to understand, or a Yeats or a Vonnegut. G-d knows, I don't. Or even care. C'est la vie, c'est la guerre....

9 comments:

zelda said...

I wanna know the awkward realizations!

j said...

cheer up, I have a useless memory; only crappy lyrics and movies ever get in this hall of fame- never could remember a quote from Joyce or anyone important and the few remnants of old english merely brings up that question: who's hrothgar?arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Dr J said...

@Zelda: Nope. That'd require at least a fifth of whisky. Nah, three fifths of whisky, two pitchers of beer, and a dozen shots of Irish Mist. ;-)

@j: My memory contains the oddest bits, but seldom the stuff I wish I could remember. Were I an actor, I'd probably be the idiot who memorized everyone else's lines-- and forgot his own. LOL

sylvia said...

A propos de rien en particulier, did I ever tell you about the girl in my Shakespeare tutorial group, lo these many years ago (13, I make it), who told the whole group that she couldn't understand why everyone thought Shakespeare was so great when it turned out that he had stolen the plots of all his plays from other people? And the rest of us -- TA included -- just stared at her, like, In how many ways can one person completely miss the point?!

Now, why did I think of that? Cate Blanchett playing Elizabeth again, I suppose...

Here's something actually relevant: one of the songs my kid -- the one who's not yet five, remember -- often sings to herself when she thinks no one is listening is ... Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. (I don't think she's ever heard Leonard Cohen sing it, but she used to make me sing it over and over at bedtime when she was about three.) She hasn't got the gravelly bass voice, but she's got the can't-quite-carry-a-tune down pat, alas ...

S, who wishes she could think of something more intelligent to say, but has not yet had enough coffee and in any case is editing vets -- Spanish-speaking vets yet -- which always makes more brain cells than usual melt and trickle out her ears

Dr J said...

Syl, could she have heard "Hallelujah" from Shrek? God knows, that version gets played more than any song I can think of. Guys like me, however, like Leonard because he couldn't carry a tune with a stretcher and three orderlies. It's somehow comforting. ;-)

As for tales from Shakespeare tutorials, the much, much, MUCH less I say, the better.

sylvia said...

Well, it's quite possible she heard it from Shrek, but she heard it from me first. What I find so interesting is that she hears me sing all sorts of things all the time (you may remember that about living with me...), but some things appear to make no impression while others she wants to hear over and over and over and over and ...

And then there are the things that she doesn't want to hear and refuses to sing, and then, months later, you hear her singing them under her breath while busy with something else. Like, she rode on my brother's shoulders all the way down Queen West last month singing "Dayenu", in which she had flatly refused to participate during either of this year's sedarim...

Dr J said...

Glad she heard it from you first. Warms the cockles of what remains of my gangrenous heart. ;-)

BTW, you may just have piqued a great deal of curiousity with the "(you may remember that about living with me...)" bit. *ROFL*

sylvia said...

you may remember that about living with me...

... and all those other people on the fourth floor of that ugly brick residence building at York.

Are y'all happy now, Prurient Friends of Jer?

;^)

j said...

sylvia, think you defended your reputation more than dr j's rep , is the latter even possible?!

;p