Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nothing interesting to see here (2012 FO #10 - Dad's birthday socks)

I have a confession to make: I didn't get yesterday's work done in its allotted time. My computer crashed, I lost an hour's work and I cracked the shits. I lieu of wine I watched Wife Swap USA and the Made in Chelsea finale and then, gorged on trash, fake tan and garlic and olive oil toasted pita bread, I went to bed.  It was not an exciting night but it was what I needed to do.

Today the sun was shining (clearly to reward me for finally getting my work done, albeit one day late) and I took the opportunity to go outside and take photos of my latest FO (another Cast On Mania project).

There is literally no way to make this project interesting. Even I found it boring when I was knitting it! 72 stitches, top down, flap and gusset heel, knit knit knit repeat.

I tried hanging these socks in some trees but even that doesn't provide any spark. I don't even know what yarn it is because I bought the wool in a grab back of sock yarns and it didn't have a label. I know it's machine washable - because I washed it in my machine - but other than that it's a mystery to me.

I hope my dad likes them and they fit him. He's the last member of my family to get any socks that he can wear (I did send him one pair that are ridiculously too small for him to get on his feet).

That's all, folks. It's a quiet time at the old FO town tonight!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

So close but so far!

I am excited to note that there are 30 hours left of Dry July! I don't normally drink on a Monday but today is exactly the kind of day where I would be cracking open a bottle of wine after dinner. I have 13 hours of work to do in only 10 hours (eek!) but I know that it's impossible to do 10 hours of straight work so I'm alternating 50 minutes of head-down-bum-up productivity with 10 minutes of coffee-drinking, Ravelry-checking, booty-shaking (to raise my heart rate at regular hourly intervals to compensate for the fact that I will be doing no exercise today) and Lucy-cuddling to get me through the day.  It would suck if I made it throughout the whole of July only to crack on the penultimate day!

I know I've said repeatedly that I want to knit down my stash but ... (there's always a but) ... my sister is getting married next year and - big surprise - I'm going to knit her a wedding shawl. I've been keeping a lazy eye out for the right wool and when I saw some Wollmeise on destash for the exact same amount of money that I had in my Paypal account, I had to buy it.

It arrived last week and it is totally gorgeous ...

.. but not really my sister's type of colours. Fortunately, it's exactly mine! I don't really need another shawl but it would be such a gorgeous Henslowe... I'll have to wait and see what I feel like making once I've wrapped up Cast On Mania and the Ravellenics.  Now, my 10 minutes is over and it's time to get back to work!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ravellenics Challenge: CHP

I did say yesterday that today I would post a new FO, but I forgot one important fact...today is the first day of the Olympics! Or, more specifically, the Ravellenic Games (previously the Ravelympics, but due to a brouhaha with the USOC, called something different this time). For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, each knitter challenges themselves to complete certain tasks that must be completed between the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics. Some people chose to start and finish a project, but since I have bucketloads of unfinished objects lying around, it seems ridiculously silly to start another one, so my challenge is to finish a project I've already started. I'm going to finish my Central Park Hoodie!

I started this jumper on 15 April 2008. More than five years ago! It is well and truly time it got finished and off my UFO list. I participated somewhat half-heartedly in the last Ravelympics, with limited success. This time I'm competing for gold - wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Gold Coast Minibreak

I am writing this post from the Gold Coast Airport. Airports aren't depressing exactly but they are definitely not fun places to hang out in and I love that now a delayed plane doesn't mean that your book no longer lasts throughout the flight but gives you the time to write on your blog and work on your sock for a little longer. Yay for technology and knitting! (For those who are interested, I had no problems getting the knitting needles on to the plane but I did have to take them out of my suitcase and show the security people what they were before they let me through.)

What am I doing in Queensland, you ask? Well, two weeks ago my lovely boyfriend saw some cheap fares and a great hotel deal and booked us a spontaneous minibreak. We stayed at the Outrigger Surfers Paradise, which was very nice. The view from our hotel room at sunset is above - delightful!

Just like all good holidays this one involved lots of drink and food and lying around relaxing, but in order to say that we had 'done' something we rented a car and drove up to the Hinterlands.

I bought a Dry July day pass, which meant I could drink (yay!) and the first place we stopped at was the Tamborine Mountain Distillery, which had 80 different liqueur flavours. My favourites were the Triple Sec and Blackcurrent. I go to cellar doors to do wine tasting quite often and it was really fun to do something a bit different that still involved booze. I could happily have spent the whole afternoon drinking here but as responsible drivers we tasted six and then drove away (mostly) sober. I do kind of wish I'd taken a toothbrush because liqueurs are sweet and I'm not used to drinking that much sugar (First World Problem FTW).

The next place we stopped at was the Witches Chase Cheese shop, where we did a cheese tasting. It was super delicious and my absolute favourite way to eat cheese - small bites of tons of different great-tasting cheeses. We bought a wedge of Washed Rind cheese and it was only because of the threat of an expanding waistline that prevented me from buying All The Cheese. (If anyone doesn't believe that Australia is in the grip of an obesity epidemic, visit the Gold Coast, which really surprised me given the temperate weather and easy access to cheap and delicious fruits and fish.)

My mum looked after Lucy while I was gone and sent me this picture of Lucy hiding under the couch last night:

Yes, I really need to start sweeping under the couch more frequently! I can't wait to get home and give my little pussycat a hug.  It's lovely to go on holidays but it's wonderful to arrive home after being away :)

Tomorrow, another Friday FO from Cast on Mania. I'm loving having so many finished things to share and seeing my stash reduce - fun!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

FO Friday: Panel Rib Socks and an amazing discover (2012 FO #9)

You know how I'm always like 'Can't find the cable for my camera so here are photos from my iPhone again' or 'Sorry about the terrible iPhone photos!' like a broken record? Well, my poor camera is broken and in the repair shop so the photos are from my iPhone again.

However, I recently found out there is this app you can use that takes the photos from your iPhone and makes them look pretty and that lot of people actually choose to use this app to take their photos with rather than use a point-and-shoot camera. 

You may have heard of it - Instagram (yes, I am slow to adopt new technologies. I'm hopeless.) 

An arty shot:

I heart it!

The Specs

These Panel Rib Socks were my Day 2 CAST-ON MANIA project. I cast on 62 stitches and then did 12 rows of 1x1 rib. The paneling is a 5x1 rib with an additional knit and purl stitch that goes down the back of the sock (15cm total cuff length). I did a short row heel (centred on the 1x1 column) then continued the ribbing pattern as established on the top of the foot. It took 88g for a sock the right size for my sister's 6.5 foot.

The Jitterbug (as always) was fabulous and resulted with a thick, squooshy warm sock. The colourway is *very* bright and I wasn't crazy about the pooling when I was knitting them but on the foot they look gorgeous and I hope my sister likes them very much.

And because I can't stop playing with Instagram...

..this is how my cat helps me reach my deadline - sitting on the top shelf of my desk and watching me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I know it's racist but...

Last night on an Internet forum I made a comment that Forrest Gump was a racist film (it is, really. Think about it*.). I was astounded at the vehemence of the responses I received disagreeing with my statement (which is fine: opinions are like noses – we all have one). One poster said my argument was “absurd”, which is my second favourite insult of all time following “preposterous!” (Although, after having reading The Sense of an Ending I kind of like “That is philosophically self-evident” as the wankiest shut-down ever). I’m not surprised that the racism in Forrest Gump is often missed because it is insidious in that it’s very well hidden behind the idiot savant America rah rah stuff but I was very surprised at the level of offence that was taken because some stranger on the Internet said the film was racist. It struck me as a little odd.  Then I started thinking…

Film is a funny thing. It’s ubiquitous in that everyone watches movies, so that it becomes a cultural dialogue that’s more shared than any other sort I can think of. It’s an incredibly seductive medium – the cinematic apparatus is set up to draw the viewers into the story so that they identify with characters and care what happens to them. It also carries the illusion of being real – when we watch characters kiss on screen we are actually watching two real people kiss – but it’s not actually real, it’s a mediated representation of reality that works very hard to present itself as true. A cinematic language has developed within which Hollywood films usually operate that we, as seasoned cineliterate viewers, are familiar with – for example, the guy gets the girl and black guys can be the President of the United States or the Head Cop or the buddy but not the love interest (disclaimer: unless he is Will Smith or Denzel Washington). We are so conditioned to these rules and standards that most of the time we don’t even notice that they’re being used and this is why film is an ideological medium – it presents a view of the world as normal, natural and unproblematic when the filmic world is anything but.

Now I know there’s people reading this who are all like ‘It’s just a movie! I just watch it for fun! There’s no meaning to it.’. If that’s you, move along – this post is not for you. Knitting pictures and discussions of cats will be back tomorrow! See you then!

Back on point: I study film theory, which examines how and why films work the way they do. Why do you identify with this character but not that character? What does it mean that most movies contain conversations between men that aren’t about women but rarely contain conversations between women that aren’t about men (this one’s a no-brainer – movies are patriarchal, just like the society that produced them). It shouldn’t be a surprise that most Hollywood films are exclusionary of just about everyone who isn’t a white middle class male. This is an uncomfortable fact to face, because if we start accepting that movies present a way of life as natural, normal and unproblematic that is impossible for like 90% of the world’s population, we start to question if the pleasure that comes from watching movies is some sort of masochism or, more realistically, a collective false aspirational dream (I love movies and I love film theory but man, it is depressing! Hegemonic oppression everywhere I look). I think that’s why I got such a strong response to the suggestion that Forrest Gump is a racist film – these women loved Forrest Gump and if it’s racist and they watched it and didn’t notice the racism them it means they’re racist too and the film becomes tainted some way and they don’t want it to be.

Well, rest assured – racist is as racist does. If there’s one thing that studying film theory has taught me is that films contain multiple meanings (“complex polysemy” is the technical term) and we are not passive subjects but active viewers who pick and chose which parts of the story we focus on. It’s fine to love a text that is in some ways really wrong. Some of my best friends are politically incorrect texts (not really, but you see what I was doing there). So, in the spirit of acknowledging when we know what we love is wrong, I give you my Top 3 I know it’s _______ but…

1.    Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Yes, it’s terribly racist. Yes, Ms Mitchell was a horrible bigot with a terrible way of looking at the world. But this book is so entertaining and Scarlett O’Hara is such a terrific heroine and it’s so much fun! I heart it. (As a side point, have you read this hilarious retelling of GWTW? Don't forget to read the comments - they're wonderful. The Internet was made for moments like these.)

2.    Any Disney princess movie.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it at all – these movies are awful in terms of gender politics. Take my personal favourite Aladdin as an example. Some may argue that it’s a positive feminist take on traditional marriage because Jasmine stands up for herself and picks her own husband. But why does she even need a husband at all? Jasmine, you can rule on your own. You can even shave your hairline and wear some fierce bodices Queen Elizabeth 1 style if you want - you actually don’t need a man to be subservient to! But then ‘A Friend Like Me’ comes on and my resistance is gone. In Beauty and the Beast, even Belle’s name describes her narrative function – she’s just beauty personified! Because it is beauty saves the savage beast – not intelligence, humour, independence or wit, but beauty. Excellent message for all the girls there. These films are inherently sexist because neither of them would have worked if the male and female roles had been reversed – if Aladdin had had to marry and Jasmine had tricked him by pretending to be someone else she would have been called a gold-digger or an opportunist. If Belle had been ugly would the Beast have been asked to save her or are ugly women unredeemable? So they are horribly anti feminist films…but I still love them. A Whole New World indeed.

3. Robert Redford

I think it’s important to note here that when I talk about Robert Redford, I am talking about Robert Redford the star (where star = picture personality + extratextual discourse) rather than Robert Redford the person, who I don’t know and am very unlikely to meet any time soon.

Robert Redford is a ridiculously handsome man. His name is invoked as a shorthand for ‘very handsome’ (just google ‘He’s no Robert Redford’ to see the usage of the term). He starred in The Way We Were, one of the all-time top ladies night in movies ever, so he’s got to be feminist friendly, right? Wrong. For starters, his Hubbell Gardner in The Way We Were rejected the fabulous K-K-Katie for a non-challenging pretty blonde because she was easier - just like a jerk would do. That’s not good!  Then there’s all those movies about relationships between men (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, All The President’s Men, Spy Game, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Last Castle), the movies where he just uses women for sex (The Candidate, Downhill Racer, The Sting) or takes women by force (3 Days of the Condor, Tell them Willie Boy is Here). This is a man who, although irresistible to women, doesn’t need women to succeed (The Electric Horseman, Lions for Lambs, almost every single one of the movies listed above) and to whom loving a woman can prove fatal or near-fatal (Havana, Up Close and Personal, The Natural). Add to that his extra-textual discourse about being an all-American man who travelled around Europe being moody before settling down with a 17-year-old Mormon, impregnating her then building a house in the mountain with his own two hands before leaving her behind and travelling the world making movies while having women faint at his feet (it really happened while he was filming The Electric Horseman. He makes women swoon). He’s a Man’s Man who likes Manly things like baseball and skiing and building things on mountains not sissy things like cooking or cleaning or respecting the intelligence of one’s wimmenfolk (this despite that fact that his magically-not-greying hair clearly requires a lot more hours in a salon chair covered in foil than my hair does and he always wears a lot of bling – did I mention he built a house on a mountain with his own two hands like a Man). Being near the Robert Redford persona is a perilous place for women to be but I heart him. I know that it’s wrong but I heart Robert Redford and I think he’s really beautiful.

So there are my three guilty secrets. Anyone else prepared to share their I know it’s________ but… with me?

* If you don’t see it and you’re interested in learning more about why I’m right, I recommend Flatlining on the Field of Dreams: Cultural Narratives in the Time of Ronald Reagan by Alan Nadal, but I warn you after reading this you will never look at the Back to the Future films the same way again.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

FO Friday: Radiating Star Blanket (2012 FO #8)

A few weeks ago I blogged about running out of wool to finish a baby blanket for a baby that's due this week. I bought wool in a complementary shade in a destash on Ravelry but in the end decided that having just part of the border in a different colour would look messy and unprofessional so I would hold out to find wool in the same shade. This meant I had to start another blanket immediately (babies don't wait for knitting projects to be finished, unfortunately!), so about two hours after posting about my dilemma I was in my LYS looking for wool to start a new blanket. As I entered, right next to the front door was a shelf full of - you guessed it - the discontinued Patons Soft Haze in the exact colourway I needed. Yay!

I gifted the blanket this morning and before I did I took some photos on my iPhone. I wish I had checked them before the blanket left my possession because they are just awful! Please excuse them and, when looking at them, visualise how soft, fluffy and gorgeous the blanket really is because you honestly get no sense of that from these pictures...

On my hallway floor...

The original pattern has you knit 95 rows of lace and then cast off. I liked the way the lace pattern looked but I felt that without a border the blanket looked a bit unfinished and would roll without the stabilising effect of garter stitch. So I stopped at Row 59, cast on 20 stitches and began a knitted-on garter stitch border.

With flash the lace pattern is clearer...
Of course I used absolutely no maths when deciding how wide to make the border so after I'd knit about 10cm I realised I was going to have to miter the corners. I figured since to change the direction of a border 90 degrees you did a short row every row, to change the direction of the border the 45 degrees I needed to to have the eight equal points required, I would do a short row every second row. So, knit 18 wrap and turn, knit 16 wrap and turn, knit 14 wrap and turn, et cetera.

Ugh - these photos are awful!
As you can see the border still ruffles a little bit, so I didn't get the rate of decrease completely perfect. Next time, instead of doing 3 decreases every 6 rows, I would do 2 decreases every five rows.

Even with the slight ruffled effect I think this blanket is gorgeous. It's super warm and cuddly and machine washable - all of the things a baby blanket needs to be. I hope the mum and the new bub like the blanket just as much as I do. I'm also super happy to finish my first Cast On Mania project in the required timeframe - GAAK, here I am.

Unfortunately, because I liked the yarn so much and it's been discontinued I bought 5 balls from my LYS and two from the Ravelry destash I mentioned above. That means that this stash busting project, which took 6.5 balls, actually increased my stash by 6.5 balls. Stashbusting - 0, successful cast-on mania baby knitting - 1. Oh well, I guess you can't win them all!

A review of the Artist and some bloggerly navel-gazing

The Artist: A Review

I saw The Artist last night. Yes, I know everyone in the entire world has already seen this film but the thing is I study film. I spend hours every day reading film theory and watching and analysing film texts. I can tell you more about Hollywood, feminism, ideology and narrative than you would ever ever ever want to know. I love it but honestly, after a long day of struggling to understand the myth-making role of popular movies the only thing I want to watch is something involving Bethenney, a Real Housewife or 36 men running around a football field chasing an oval ball. A silent film about the troubles of a silent film star who is left behind when Hollywood adopts sound seemed like it would involve a lot of work, so it fell behind other more easy to watch less challenging films.

However, I needn’t have worried – The Artist is a delightful light, frothy, fun film. Intended by its director as ‘a love story to cinema’, The Artist is an homage to Hollywood past and draws heavily from other Hollywood classics such as A Star is Born and Sunset Boulevard. One of the majors successes of this film is, like Toy Story, the film is constructed on a number of different levels of enjoyment. It can be watched as a straight love story, as an experiment in film technique and style or, for those of us who have spent far too many hours watching Hollywood movies, an exercise in identifying cinematic references, which has the added bonus of making me feel clever and knowledgeable (I get it – Douglas Fairbanks! A Star is Born! Biograph! An Eisenstein montage! The staircase from Bladerunner!). It’s a very accessible text – there’s a bit of light surrealism but nothing too confronting and, most importantly, nothing that gets in the way of the story being told.

Like The Sixth Sense, The Artist is a novelty film and I don’t expect to see an influx of silent movies being released over the next few years (FYI, actual silent films from the ‘20s and ‘30s don’t look at all like The Artist does and are often quite inaccessible to modern audiences because film conventions – the language of film – has changed considerably over the last 75 years. Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is great – he was a genius - and probably the only silent movie I’d watch for fun rather than for study purposes, although I recently discovered that Hitchcock directed some silent films and I’d love to see them*). If there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen it I would wholeheartedly recommend this film. There is a flat patch in the middle of the movie but the first half-hour and the last 15 minutes of the film are exquisite and truly lovely cinema. I say Hollywood should dump a few explosions and instead bring back Rogers-and-Astaire style dancing – I know I would enjoy it much more!

An interesting side point

Because it is a silent movie, a huge element of the film is its score. I think it’s done really well except for a section near the end where the story is reaching its climax and the love theme from Vertigo kicks in. I love Vertigo but I watched it quite recently and the very recognisable music disrupted my engagement with the film text. I don’t understand why the filmmakers chose such a distinctive piece of music from a movie made in the ‘50s and why they used it at that particular moment in the narrative, so as soon as I finished watching the film I googled it and found this post, which as well as being informative summed up exactly what I think and feel about the use of that music (as an interesting side note, silent films were remarkable un-silent when they were actually being filmed. Mood music was usually played in the studios and the directors were standing just outside of the frame literally directing - giving the actors direction and cues while the camera was rolling. Recording in sound didn't just make things different for the actors by making them talk, it meant drastically different methods of performing and directing needed to be developed). 

Because I liked what the post said and I like the writing style, I clicked through to the front page of the blog to see if it was worth adding to my Google Reader feed, only to discover the blogger's death announcement. It made me think about how knowledge is disseminated through the Internet. Will I find out that bloggers whose blogs I have been reading for years have died through an announcement on my Reader feed? Blogs are weird in that they let you feel like you have been sharing quite an intimate experience (a life journey? Is that too lame a concept?) with another person who you've never even met and probably haven't interacted with beyond a few comments left on your favourite posts. My online identity is largely separate from my real-life one. My friends buy me wool when they go on holiday (friends, thanks so much! I love holiday wool!) but really have no idea how much time I devote to taking photos of, writing about, reading about and thinking about my knitting. If I died tomorrow, who online would ever know...?

Finally *drum roll* ... the rating

I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. The story is simple but the aesthetics are great and the dog is really cute. See this movie!

* Holy run-on sentence, Batman! Apologies for the poor grammar.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

After a week of being dry...

(This post was meant to be published yesterday but I went to a lunchtime birthday party and ended up not getting home till after 9pm but not, as is usually the reason, because I was drinking and having too much fun - it was because I went to the inlaw's house to study in the afternoon instead of coming home.)

I am pleased to announce that I have successfully gone eight days without having one single sip of alcohol. Yay for self-control! It has been both easier and harder to do than I thought it would be. Here is a list of what I have learned so far from taking part in Dry July.

1. Watch out for habitual behaviour

One aspect of being dry that I was really worried about was my mid-week drinking-to-relax-not-get-drunk glass of wine.  When I started working from home I realised that I had to set up a proper working schedule or I'd spend mornings lying in bed drinking coffee and reading novels and then be up all night finishing the work I needed to do in order to meet my deadlines. So I instituted a practice whereby I work until 6pm, cook dinner, eat dinner than pour a glass of wine and settle on the couch to watch TV or a movie. It works really well because I know that if I want to have my wine-and-relax time I need to get my work done by the set time. I was worried that without the incentive of wine I wouldn't stick to my schedule or, even worse, that I had become dependent on my glass of red to relax. However, I replaced the wine with dessert (mini Cornettos or ice-cream with chocolate topping and my homemade toasted muesli - yummo!) and the system works just as well. Yay for being addicted to habit rather than wine!

2. Dry July bad for weight loss

See No.1 for how I have replaced wine with sweets. If I'm not careful, I might spend all of the money I save by not drinking on clothes that are a size bigger than the ones I'm wearing at the moment!

3. Remove all temptation

In the last eight days the moment that I found it hardest not to have any wine was when I was out for dinner. Like with No.1 this is a situation where one is not drinking to get drunk (although that does happen sometimes) but because it's part of the ritual - when one goes out to dinner, one has a glass of wine with one's food (especially when one is talking about oneself as if one was an upper-class Englishwoman). On Friday night I solved that problem by enforcing a sober table and not letting anyone at the table drink any wine (much to the delight of my fellow diners) but last night I was at a family dinner and couldn't do that. A really nice bottle of wine was opened and it took all of my strength and self control to say no. For the rest of the month I'm just going to stay away from all dinner with nice wine - I can't see any other way to keep resisting.

So that's my journey so far. I'm happy with how I've done but, as they say in the classics, I'm just taking it one day at a time. 23 days to go.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mystery Hat KAL AKA My Dry July Hat (Dry July Day 3)

Just when I was considering the ramifications of my crazy plan to give up drinking for a whole entire month (basically, NO WINE FOR A MONTH!) I saw a new Mystery KAL pop up in one of my Ravelry groups. Patchworks by Debi was running a knit-a-long to make a hat but, because it's a mystery, no-one knows what the hat will look like. I need a new hat and Debi's designs are pretty darn cute - check out these Christmas-themed designs:

Cute! The KAL was running for the whole month of July so it seemed a perfect way to mark the days until my next alcoholic beverage, so I signed up. I'm a bit embarrassed to share this really awful iPhone photo...but here is my progress so far.

My stranding technique is really awful! I'm hoping that in this case blocking fixes all. Even if it doesn't, I'm looking forward to my nice new hat.

A Long Lazy Weekend (Dry July Day 2)

Today is Day 2 of my Dry July project. I had this idea that might blog every day as another way of keeping me accountable, but, honestly, I think some posts would be all 'I'm so zen and relaxed and who needs wine anyway? I've got herbal tea!' while others would be 'AARRGGGHHHH!!! WINE!!!' and really, that would be fun for nobody, so that won't be happening.  But I do think that the key for avoiding alcohol for a whole month is accountability, so do expect fairly repetitive frequent paragraphs involving thoughts of wine, delicious wine, and the fact that I am abstaining from drinking any. Fun times for all involved.

I had a lovely weekend. I had the whole house to myself from Friday through to Sunday and the best way to describe it would be completely delightful. I actually had plans to do things on Friday and Sunday but I cancelled them and then spent the whole weekend on my couch in my pyjamas with my cat and my knitting. It was wonderful! I watched French films (The Women on the Sixth Floor  - two thumbs up and gosh, Paris is beautiful; Beautiful Lies - two thumbs down but gosh, regional France is beautiful), art house films (Marcy Martha May Marlene - one thumb up and one thumb down. It was interesting and intriguing and creepy but the non-ending totally sucked arse. When I watch a movie I want a complete coherent tale, not a bloody choose-your-own-adventure; Fish Tank - two thumbs down. It was bleak and depressing and creepy and not in a good way. Even Michael Fassbender couldn't save it, although his performance was very good) and a black and white Classical Hollywood screwball comedy (The Lady Eve - absolutely divine! Barbara Stanwyck, I heart you). Sam, for all of his many good qualities, has a strictly mainstream film appetite, so I really have the opportunity for the Belinda-led one-person film festivals I used to do at uni all the time. Today I feel recharged and definitely more cultured than I was on Friday. I also really want to go on a holiday to France - maybe some day...

Tomorrow: a new project to keep me focused through the long dry July days because what I really need now is more new projects. Oh dear!