Sunday, 28 September 2008


My company respects the many varieties of Ruthenian public holiday, and the recent four-day Feast of St Trjaxodjev gave me a chance to catch up with the recordings made by my domestic closed-circuit television security system.

The recording of our daughter Arianrhod's room solved the mystery of the whereabout of my father's Luger, and the two cameras mounted in the potting shed provided me with more information that sanity allows about No Good Boyo's morning ablutions - information that I am happy to share.

On surfacing from the remoulade of breasts and megalomania that is his subconscious, Boyo's first act is to grasp the shifting contents of his underpants - assuming gravity, decay or rodents had not already disposed of such garments.

I postponed discussion of this matter until a few moments before Boyo was about to address the Caversham Conservative Association. He seemed genuinely surprised and confused, until I recalled that this is his default reaction to anything I say.

"It's primæval behaviour," I remarked.

"Ta, love!" he beamed, proudly wresting the microphone from my hand.

This need for reassurance that one's lower depths are intact is clearly a male instinct - like lying, inept concealment, blondes and recourse to drink.

Cardinals fearful of Pio Nono's Evil Eye would shield their privates in his Papal presence, while cricketers and "rap" genre singers like Mr 50 Cent continue the practice to this day, albeit with less reticence.

During the "questions from the floor" session after his address to the local Tories, Boyo eventually agreed with my insistent inquiries as to whether he called those pallid parts his "crown jewels".

The mood of the meeting was with me when I urged him for the sake of the Monarchy to reclassify them as "state secrets".

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Cinema of Cruelty I

One of Boyo's imaginary cybershades, I forget which, asked me to compile a list of twelve films of personal significance to me. There are, naturally, no such films.

I am happy, however, to share a few flickering images of cultural decay that have caused the corners of my vermillion lips or eyes to twitch on rare occasions.

1. Cold Comfort Farm

Boyo waits until I'm at peace with the world, usually after a successful morning of supervising the evacuation of one of his sheds, before suggesting that we should visit his relatives in Wales.

I keep a copy of John Schlesinger's film at hand to remind myself of why Offa's Dyke was built and is still maintained. The book may not be set in Wales, but that wrinkled little country keeps its spirit alive (see photograph above).

2. L'année dernière à Marienbad

"Tels ils marchaient dans les avoines folles,
Et la nuit seule entendit leurs paroles".

I passed the "French nonsense" section of my International Baccalaureate with an essay positing that the Resnais/Robbe-Grillet film is a meditation on Verlaine's "Colloque Sentimental".

In fact I like it because it reminds me of my childhood family holidays.

3. Gorod Zero (Zero Town)

Mechanical tyrants, random nudity, roads that lead nowhere, both rock and roll, pools of water, suicidal cooking - this late Soviet offering is a reminder of what that Bolshevik shambles was like. It is also an approximation of Boyo's idea of a decent party.

4. El ángel exterminador

In this film Buñuel approximates my idea of a decent party.

I shall suggest a few more accompaniments to a cosy night in when it occurs to me.