Monday, March 19, 2012

So. Life. Blearg.

This is the best song/poem/thing in the world, ever.

No, it actually is.  I have it playing in the background while writing this and I am already crying by the time she mentions his muley cow. Ack.  Gillian Welsh kills me.

As a well-read, college-educated, reasonably comfortable white female in the south-east of Ireland, my opinion on things is OBVIOUSLY so so niche and thus is frequently sought on various matters. I read non-fiction books! Alot of the time those NF books are NOT about the Mitfords or Jane Austen and are about actual stuff that happened in the last fifteen years! I -sometimes, seriously, it is so painful though- read novels that AREN'T set pre-1950 and involve actual contemporary issues! [Gender & race politics during the post-WW2 era is kinda contemporary, right? Yeah? God, I so have my finger on the pulse of the average fiction reader. I'm so glad I work in the industry that I'm in. I would sooo hate to be out of touch of the typical fiction reader haha that would be a deathnell haha wait what?]

Also, I read the lifestyle sections of [certain] newspapers! And I have recently weaned myself off reading Roisin Ingle's IT's Saturday column for diuretic purposes! I'm so well-adjusted and alligned with the average 25- 40 demographic. Survey me! I'm, like, uber-intelligent and informed! I am!  I did a module on 20th Century Irish Pol in college! Yes! Yeah, so I can't spell for toffee outside MS Word but heck, I have opinions and I am willing to share them. Here is one and it is bland *SPOILERALERT*

So. I have a terrificly bad habit of canonizing things/people/books/authors/directors/musicians as my own personal gospel and utilising theorems/philosophies/lyrics from such as my own personal bible. Do you do this?  WHY WOULDN'T YOU? Itss pretty much how modern culture is presented to us. Like that Adele song?  Well, here's seventeen-hundred articles why Adele is awesome and why you should worship her and ALSO panicbuy concert tickets at 8am because you're told to. See also: Lily Allen, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Florence & The Machine, countless others that are sufficently marketed to us MOR people so we prebook and think its a gift. They seem so great, let's make them our religion. Yeah?

It's a shockin' bad habit of mine, anyway, even before the marketeers cottened on to it. I have previously gotten through quitting a job by repeating a poem in my brain like it's religious verse, my (final, successful) driving test by mumbling the good luck message of a friend like it was a mantra. I have frequently reminded myself of this poem whenever I feel lost and adrift and can't understand humanity (AKA hungover).

I'm entirely cognisant of the fact that my future biographer will make great haystacks out of my professed atheism alligned with my imperiative need to idolise individuals, writers, politicans, men, women etc; and correctly question my opposition to theism. Hey.  Fine. Whatevs, future biographer: I havent done anything noteworthy yet so dunno why you exist.

I try real hard not to do it, because it's crazy and untenable and recently I have been super productive on the whole regarding-humans-I -meet-and-like-as-humans-not-as-prophets-on-how-I-should-live-my-life (look at me! 29 and still expecting to find a life mission from the next person I meet! Cult-leaders, seek me out!), but it's a slow progress.  Everytime I hit a metaphorical roadblock, I start humming "Hard times; ain't gonna rule my mind, honey"; anytime human avarice or folly exasperates me I find myself stumbling to Austen for satirical succor; whenever I feel like the biggest fool in the room I just smoke a cigarette and think of this song. And all these things, they're so great, so awesome, so profound, so off my beat that they fix me.  So, there's that. I'm not cured yet.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stoner- AKA The Best Thing you will read, ever

I frequently construct random lists of my favourite things in my head, while driving or working or whatever, to imply I am a discerning individual with taste and standards and not just an arbitrary sampler of books, movies, music, pop culture, opinions, ideologies, oh no no, of course not.

Top five Coen movies, top five ideal book to movie adaptations, top whatever comedic novels, possible actors for the modern day movie adaption of Jane Austen's Persuasion that I will make someday and it will be awesome. Top five teen fiction series which don't offend my feminazi sensabilities.

Optimum reading schedule of sections in Irish Times weekend. Top five actually awesome female writers that are being woefully undermarketted. Top three Sinead O'Connor songs for performing at impromptu karaoke sessions. Top 600 awesome CJ Gregg oneliners [twoliners? Lets not be priggish about this; many of CJ's best lines are rebuttals]. Top five Nicholas Sparks novels. No no wait that was actually a joke.  Who actually reads more than one Nicholas Sparks novel without dying of saccharine poisoning.

Can you taste the sexy?  My interior monologue is dripping in sex, drugs and rock and roll, dudes. Point is, these lists/catologues are predictably private, dumb and pointless and subject to the dull cull of my caprices from time to time but one remains, like an totemic tenat of my cultural leanings:  John Williams' Stoner. Have you read it?  Why the hell not?

First and most presiecnt: its brilliant. Briiiiiiliant. You'll buy it or pick it up in your local library and think: "fuck, this looks like heavy going" cos I've seen four differnt covers for it and all of them are terrible. Ha ha aha it ain't. Jokes on you, bucko. This shit is SOLIDLY great.

It kicks off as the tale of a farm boy, William Stoner, hardships and pennypinching-ness a plenty, who's sent to college in urban Missouri in the 1930s to study AgSci 'cos his Mid-West father, foresight included, realises he'll need some educashun to get the family farm through to the next generation.  Our boy finds college a magical highway to learning, discourse and self-discovery and, changing his major to English, discovers all that symbolic shit that the moving from Ag Science to English for love of the subject entails.  Pissed off at such a formalaic setup?  THATS ONLY THE SETUP, PALS. The real shit happens now.

 William Stoner is everyman, bitches. He loves literature of course, which some people might not (WHO ARE THESE ANIMALS) but otherwise he's just a typical young man who decides to follow a different career path than the one his family had set him. And oh jesus is it a sore lesson This is where you learn about breaking your parents' heart, fellas.  Over the next thirty years he sits out a war, is promoted, recommended by all, expands, grows, learns and then is mollified and condemned by his department and college; all the while being the best guy you could never ever meet cos he's too sound. He marries unadvisedly - you'll be yelling at the page to stop him- and he has a daughter who he cherishes and is torn away from. And then there's one of the most tender, realistic love affairs ever to attempt a salty toast.  Arrrrg.

It's brilliant, beautiful, sad and contemporaneous. Read it, you empty headed dolt.