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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Monday, March 8th, 2004

Time Event
10:41a
Various bits
I've known for some time that flashing lights are one of the things that bring on my migraines, along with sudden changes in the weather and stress. I discovered something even more disturbing yesterday.

The long aura period which goes before my need to be in a dark room lying on my back or side usually involves odd perspective - suddenly I look down at my feet and they are a long way off. And yes, I can see my feet, in spite of being fat, how nice of you to ask - big feet, you see. Once when I had a migraine triggered by strobe effects in a piece about dams and casinos at the Turner Prize exhibition at the old Tate, now Tate British, I found it made worse by the hallway which has a sort of rococo dome with lots of curved skylights in it.

After a long walk yesterday afternoon, Polly, Lisa and I fetched up at Tate Modern and went in to look at this big exhibit of a yellow globe floating in mist and people underneath it looking up at themselves in a mirrored ceiling . And being in there made me feel ill, even quicker than being in Tate Modern usually does. I really think that the odd perspective thing has moved from a symptom to a cause, because we got out of there and I was just feeling OK again when we got to the new Paternoster Square, which is a piazza shaped as an irregular polygon, which the eye keeps trying to interpret as a rectangle. And I started to feel nauseous just being there - condemned to architectural old fogeyism by a trick of neurology.

Alternatively Lovecraft was right and the Old Ones are trying to return through subtle distortions of geometry, aided by modernist art. But hey! anyone but Bush includes Cthulhu, right?

I saw 'The Barbarian Invasions' and found it full of bad faith. Canadian health care can be as heavily affected by cuts as the NHS, and is nonetheless good - the film represented Canadian hospitals as slums in which you can only get good care by bribery. I've had my life saved by socialized medicine, and not been reduced to penury as a result; my dying father could not have had better care, just a nicer room in which to die. I can't help feeling that Arcaud shaded his representation of Canadian health care with the views of the American public in mind and if that is not true, then how come the son gets good care through bribery rather than paying for his father to move into the private sector?

Elsewhere in the film, I found deeply weird the sense that this bunch of academics are going all elegaiac about the end of their lives when they are marginally younger than me. Some of us keep finding new stuff to care about in our fifties thankyou very much and have non-rapacious equal relationships with people decades younger. I also found irritating Arcaud's indulgence to this crowd's erstwhile infantile leftism - some of us had radical politics in the sixties without for a second being fooled by third-world Stalinism. Some of us read Emma Goldman on the consequences of 1917 and did not need Solzhenitsyn to tell us about the gulags. And oddly, many of us who were anarcho-pacifists in the 60s did not sell out in the 80s or 90s.

On the other hand, I rewatched 'Chasing Amy' and was struck by how good Ben Affleck used to be, which makes his recent terrible performances more unforgivable. 'Chasing Amy' is not as problematic as it used to look - it has that irritating surface laddishness that often takes Smith over altogether, but it does ask some worthwhile questions about lads and their sexuality, and comes up with a fairly tragic central perception. Sometimes love is not enough - sexuality and gender and class and race and mere bad luck or bad timing get in the way and blow our arses off. Maybe it was just late at night, but I actually cried a couple of times in the big overblown speeches that Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams give so much to.

Oh, and the Season Two finale of Alias was pretty ace - I really wish we were going to see Season Three on UK terrestrial, but looks like it is going to be DVD only...

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