Wednesday, May 30, 2007

After the Wedding

This is a wonderful film from the Danish director Susanne Bier. Jacob is an Aid worker in Calcutta who is called back to meet Jorgen, a potential major financial donor, back home in Denmark. Jorgen invites Jacob to his daughter's wedding and encourages him to extend his stay in Copenhagen. The viewer is initially as uncertain of Jorgen's motives as is Jacob himself, but gradually the layers of motivation are revealed in a pschologically fascinating narrative with all possible actions leading to heartbreak for someone. The film is wonderfully acted and directed with beautiful cinematography, though possibly slightly too many extreme facial close ups! Excellent sound track too, with a haunting song from Sigur Ros meandering through every so often.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind

I bought this book in German a while ago and it has sat on my shelf for a while, not because i don't think I could read it in German but because i haveseveral German books on my shelf and reading German feels like hard work. So when I found a very cheap second hand copy of the book in English, I bought it! It's a short, tautly written book about how an encounter with a pigeon causes a man to re-evaluate his life. Part psychological thriller, part philosophy, its well worth reading. I've registered the English language version with Bookcrossing and will leave it near the pigeon sculptures on Leith Walk. I look forward to reading the book again in German!

I sometimes find that when I read in a foreign language, that I miss vital pieces of information or plot twists if I misunderstand a phrase or stop paying full attention for a moment. If I read the book first in English then I can be sure when I read it in the original that I won't be missing anything. Of course the problem is that some books may turn out not to be worth reading twice! Sometimes the book may be less than elegantly translated and so reading it in English is a chore! Also some writers are just too much of a challenge - Umberto Eco is difficult enough in English, so I'll certainly not be reading his novels in Italian!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weird stuff

Ascender Rises Above tagged me recently to post seven weird things about me. I'm not going to be able to do this as creatively as Ascender did, look at her post here. As for me well:

1. That photo shows one, that's weird isn't it? Well I don't think it is, but other people do!
2. I'm allergic to melons.
3. I've never owned a mobile phone.
4. I sing to my rabbit.
5. I dance with my eyes closed.
6. I speak three foreign languages reasonably well but can't count in any of them!
7. I'm struggling now, but then I realise that there are some things that i think are just 'stuff about me', that a lot of people may think are weird. See my post for 10 things about me on Crafty Green Poet here.

I'm not going to tag anyone by name here, there are so many versions of this going round. If you want to share your weirdness, just consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Once every six months he phones,
puts the receiver down
as soon as she answers.
He just wants to know she’s still there
reckons that once every six months
a silent call won’t freak her
has no idea how much
she wants it to be him
wants him to speak
say something, anything,
and that once every six months
is just enough to break
her heart.

previously published in Curlew magazine

dialogue for Poetry Thursday

Monday, May 21, 2007

Train Now Departing

I dreamt:
you were going home
in a fast train, alone,
distraught and dishevelled,
your eyes dark with tears.

A guard passed through,
calling your name,
but he got it wrong
or it was no longer yours
for you didn’t respond.

I gazed at the scenery
then I awoke.
It was days
before I knew
the truth of the dream.

Inspire Me Thursday now includes a weekly art journal prompt. This week we are asked to journal our dreams. This is an old poem I wrote about a dream, I made the collage to fit the poem. The poem was originally posted on the Moving Stories website (celebrating railways), which I don't think exists any more.

I also made a journal page about how dreams were like David Lynch films, but I'm really not happy with it, so I'm not posting it! When I watched Inland Empire, the latest David Lynch film, I really felt that I had already dreamt it, down to everything being in Polish.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


The idea of the psychological mask is an interesting one. The only time I intentionally don a mask is when I'm on stage. I've hidden behind a character in amateur dramatics and I find it much easier to perform poetry in front of an audience if I can hide behind a mask to some extent. Having said that though, my on stage poetic persona is basically an exagerated version of my real persona. Well my persona when I'm not at work. I've never intentionally donned a mask for work I find I have one. This was driven home to me when a colleague said he didn't think that I watched the Simpsons 'unless you have a secret side we don't know about'. I'm a very private person at work and this means there are lots of things my work colleagues don't know about me - watching the Simpsons is the least of it! I've ended up with a smartly dressed, professional persona that most of my colleagues take at face value and I think they would mostly be shocked or at least very surprised if they found out I go clubbing for example! I like to have a professional persona, particularly now I'm a manager, but sometimes I wish I could be a little more 'me' at work.

Mask for Sunday Scribblings

Monday, May 14, 2007

Coming of Age

Poetry Thursday this week asks for humourous poetry. Though I certainly have a sense of humour, I'm not renowned for my humourous verse. I have performed this poem on occasion and the first time I read it, I was entirely disconcerted by the laughter from the audience. I had been quite upset by the incident in the poem when it had happened (this poem is largely autobiographical). However on reflection I realised it could be sort of funny (though not for me personally!). So what do you think?

Coming of Age

Scared of your slender blossoming beauty,
Mother dresses you in baggy clothes,
chops off your auburn hair,

bans make-up, jewellery and perfume,
points out fat-legged girls in mini-skirts
to say ‘no-one looks good like that!’

You return from your first term away
bright with friendships, ideas
and a rucksack of fashionable new clothes.

One afternoon, while you’re out,
she black sacks your prized new possessions,
visits Oxfam but describes a theft.

Thin-lipped, she marches you to BHS
for modest brown tweed
to mark your new adulthood.

Next term end, she puzzles
over your absence, your
postcards from Paris and Milan.

first published in Envoi.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


We hadn't been clubbing for a while and usually go on a Saturday when we do. But our favourite club has moved to a Friday and we couldn't miss it! So last night we were at Gigantor! Gigantor is officially the nightclub for Edinburgh University Science Fiction club but though its still held in the student union it's full of people who were at University with my partner (ie quite a few years ago!!). The music is brilliant, the best from any club in Edinburgh. It's a eclectic mix of punk, goth, rock, alternative and just downright peculiar (the Hockey Song anyone?). Last night we had the Ramones, the Dead Kennedy's, Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Placebo and New Model Army to name just a few of our favourite Gigantor bands. (And the Hockey Song of course!!). The atmosphere was great, though there weren't a great number of wonderful outfits to look at and admire. (Its not a club where people really goth up).

When's the next night? Who knows but at least these days its generally at least three times a year, up from annually in those dark distant days of our student days!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Silk Neon Gothic

eyes closed, she
dances, corseted;
long dark hair flows
round her like her black
silk skirt, Victorian
hands in satin gloves
hold neon glow sticks
lost in time in music
with mysterious smiles.

This weeks Poetry Thursday prompt was to use their random prompt generator. This poem includes two words from the generator - silk and neon. I've posted another poem using the same words on Crafty Green Poet.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Das Leben des Anderen

In der DDR, ein Stasi Offiziel nachspioniere ein Schriftsteller und seine Frau. Der Offiziel hatte sein Herz gefunden und hatte die Paar geholfen (aber in Geheimnis). Viele Deutsche sagen 'diese ist nicht die Wahrheit, solche ein Geschicht könnte nie in der DDR passiert habe.' Ich weiß sie haben recht. Aber ich fand es interesseante darüber zu denken - konnen wir uns ein Welt vorstellen, wo solche ein Geschichte möglich ist?

Es ist etwas wie das tolle Italiensiche Film 'Buongiorno, Buon Notte' - zu denken uber etwas besser ist das erste Schritt zu ein bessere Welt.

In communist East Germany, an official of the Stasi (the State Secret Police) is spying in a dramatist and his wife. The official discovers he has a heart and starts to help the couple in secret. Many German viewers have apparently said that the film is unrealistic, such a story would not have been possible under the communist regime. I know they are right about this. However for me the interesting thing about the film is can we imagine a World where such a story could happen in a repressive regime?

As in the wonderful Italian film 'Buongiorno, Buon Notte' the point is that thinking of a better world is the first step to making a better world.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

haiku - the sea

ocean waves inside
swell carries me, salt tanged
to break on your shore

the sea for
One Deep Breath