Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Flatlining


I opened my eyes this morning and decided to close them again. I should have had this mini collapse at Christmas, then I wouldn't have had to do all that cooking.

The boy has just come round, and is presently discussing Antonioni with his Grandma in the kitchen.

Ok, I know he is a film-studies graduate, and has miraculously got himself a job in the industry having only just left college, but John knows how I feel about the tortuous dismantling of hidden meaning and the deconstruction of visual composition that everyone feels they have to go in for if they are seen to be interested in film, so I have left them to it.

"What are you going to do with yourself today?" he asks, "Just cosy up and watch some films?"

"Probably."

A friend of mine - well, more of an old acquaintance really - has just won £600,000 on the National Lottery, and - for once - it has actually gone to someone who can use it. These days, around Bath or London, this sort of amount of money is just about minimum requirement, just so long as he doesn't want to buy a house around here. He has been poor right up until this point, so - at age 60 - this could be a life-changing windfall. Have you notice the current trend for the police to describe personal injuries as 'life changing', leaving you to wonder how many arms, legs or brain cells are missing?

I have been wondering recently which was the event which has changed my life the most, but thankfully I have gone through it so far with almost no nasty surprises of any magnitude, unlike some of the rest of my family. I think of that old Chinese curse - 'May you lead an interesting life'.

The graph of my existence will - with a bit of luck - gently undulate a fraction in both directions until it flatlines, as it must with all of us.

An old girlfriend came into the pub once and castigated me for wasting my life when she found me sitting in the same chair as I had been when she left around five years before. She proudly listed all her manifold achievements during her absence, then asked what - by comparison - I had done during the same period. I found myself lost for words. This was about 35 years ago, and I still sit in the same place in the same pub.

I just went into the kitchen to get myself some more tissue to blow my nose, and the boy again suggested I watch a film.

"He doesn't like the films we watch," said H.I.

"Well why doesn't he watch a Harry Potter then?"

As with the old girlfriend in the pub, I didn't have the energy to remind the boy that I was a member of a Film Society when I was 14, and saw all the films that he is only just catching up on now, about fifty years later. The boy is 21.

Is it really possible to waste time and  - if so - do you waste more time staring at a wall than you do staring at a screen?

That house above was demolished about 2 years ago - it no longer exists.

25 comments:

  1. Llewyn Davis is best film I've seen this year. Mind you, I've only seen two. Might I suggest a hot Indian and a bottle of red. You could sweat it out.

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    1. Last night I had a hot Thai and a bottle of red. Tonight I would like to sweat it out with a hot Thai who knows a few tricks with ping-pong balls, but I expect that I will end up by adding chickpeas to the remainder of last night's sauce. Like I said, the graph of my life barely fluctuates from level.

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  2. Bloody hell he's lucky most film graduates end up behind the counter at blockbuster
    ( or become part time nurses)
    When you are feeling ill, why not download a nice film
    And
    Enjoy
    Xx

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    1. We have influential friends in the industry, and Blockbuster has - thankfully - gone out of business.

      I'm going to see what's on offer on iPlayer right now.

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    2. Oh, and he didn't even start out as a runner (I almost got him that post on Doc Martin). He is 'logger' if you know what that it.

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  3. I became an orphan aged about 40; I suppose that has to be my most life changing event. As this happens to the majority of people, I imagine it must be amongst theirs too.

    For the cold, may I suggest hot lemon and honey, and to read Jude the Obscure. It always works for me!

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    1. I became an orphan too - a penniless one, thanks to my brother.

      I can't see myself wanting to read about a (nother) fucked-up stonemason on my day off, but thanks for the suggestion.

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    2. The point being that it is such a depressing book, one's only aim in life is TO GET WELL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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  4. I hate dismantling/deconstructing films and books. I just like to watch/read and enjoy. Most films I tend to fall asleep through the middle so I just make up the missing bits. Hope your cold gets better soon.

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    1. The better something is, the quicker I fall asleep - I think it just makes me feel secure.

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  5. How about ' Debbie does Dallas ' ?!!!!! Something nice and educational !!
    I am always having this debate on achievement and wasting time ….. do people think that, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, everyone will say ' Oh, they achieved so much ' ? And, on a daily basis, how much do we have to achieve for it to be OK ?
    Get well soon Tom. XXXX

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    1. I miss the original Dallas. I think the measure is usually made in bank accounts.

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  6. I spend a lot of time just being and thinking and I don't consider it a waste at all Tom. Much more time wasting is watching some of the films on offer these days, which say absolutely nothing at all to me.
    And keep that pub chair warm - you deserve being allowed to take it home after all this time.

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  7. Why did they demolish that beautiful house? Your acquaintance was lucky to win - though I think prices for houses rock sillily into the sky: for a very little house, not in very good order, on the border between Battersea and Clapham, they demand 1,2 million Pounds...)In that case I'd prefer staring at a wall instead. Otherwise not: after my life-changing experience almost 10 years ago I acted - I hate to sit around and complain, so I moved -- and come to think of it: our life is even better now! As I hope your health will be soon.

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    1. I will explain in the next post, Britta.

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  8. This post has elements of Sartre and Joyce, in a concoction fit for Bergman and/or Woody Allen -- hope you feel better soon -- hot Thai or no hot Thai!

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  9. Nice conservatory(?) on the house that flat lined. Nice looking old white haired gentleman on the porch, too, but, I believe, a tad too portly to be vous.

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    1. Portly? I am wearing a new jumper which is billowing in the breeze - honest. The conservatory almost fell down on it's own.

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  10. Shame about the house! What happened to it? It doesn't look like it needs demolishing. And what are you looking at in the photograph - someone frolicking in the grass?!

    I can't list any great accomplishments that would satisfy or evoke envy with the people that like to play what I call the 'how-big-is-your-dick' game. As a matter of fact, I waste an awful lot of time but I am so darn happy while doing it! And now I'm off to watch John's hour-long 'happy' video!

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    1. I will explain about the house in the next post. I think I was looking at a bird of prey.

      I don't like playing the 'how big is your dick' game either, but probably for different reasons to you, Iris.

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  11. I think staring at a screen is harder on your eyes than staring at a wall.

    I don't enjoy dissecting films or books, either. Wrecks it for me.

    If you are looking for a film to watch, i'd suggest "Midnight in Paris." I really enjoyed it, especially how they filmed different places in Paris. Like a love letter to the City of Lights.

    As for very little flucuation in your life, well, i suppose it's not for everyone, but i find a lot of comfort in routine.

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    1. It's habit, rather than routine which keeps my line level, Megan.

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