April 6th, 2008


Various disasters

Firstly, there is snow. I hate snow, even before it makes me fall down. There is snow and I have to go out in it. That is all. So don't expect me to be all happy smiley about snow. In April.

Secondly, my e-mail cancelling the San Francisco panel bounced and I didn't notice - somehow it ended up in my spam bin. My apologies to all concerned especially the lovely debg who had gone to the trouble of fixing it up before I realized I could not afford the West Coast and who is left with a bad situation.

Thirdly, I got harrassed on the bus yesterday by a drunk who picked up on the lower notes in my phone voice. He started jabbing at me and threatening violence and sexual assault, so I stood up, used the officer class voice, marched to the front of the bus and demanded that the driver put him off at the next stop. Because I made it about politeness and drunkenness, I got the support of almost everybody else on the bus except for one barrack-room lawyer guy who thought the driver should have got his side of it. As I pointed out to BRL, all very well, but drunk and abusive doesn't have a side; the drunk did not want to get off, but a couple of the other passengers persuaded him that they did not want to be stuck waiting for the police to arrest him. paratti caught much of this on the phone, which must have been moderately scary.

Fourthly, I walked out of a film because it was boring the crap out of me. Viva is a technically brilliant re-creation of 70s exploitation cinema, which gets everything right from clothes to hair to dodgy technicolour to the gay hairdresser's theatrical laughter to the heroine's pout. Anna Biller who directs and stars has done a fairly impressive job on all of this - but somehow once I had seen an hour or so of it, I wanted no more and knew there was an hour to go. It needed to be less subtle, less faithful and considerably more amusing.

The various transgender shorts were good, as was the discussion about trans-representation, up to a point. I very much liked Calpurnia Adams' Casting Pearls which is an embarrassing catalogue of stupid things said by casting directors; Godspeed was a quietly witty noir about a transman bike messenger seriously fucking up.

I will post my thoughts about the discussion later.

Today and yesterday

I met up with fjm for an extended lunch and we ended up hooking up with others - drasecretcampus in particular. In other words, after several days with the London Transmafia, suddenly I was off with the SFCritmafia instead, which was not undisorienting. I realized today that, what with one thing and another, I have not really decompressed from Orbital because there was only a gap of a couple of days before I started being at the film festival, and film festivals are another sort of convention, just with a different group of my friends dominating. At least I will have a weekend between the festival finale and heading off to NY - there may be some point in the next three weeks that I am not in my current state of hyper-ness.

Or maybe I should try and be like this all the time - nobody seems to find me too intolerable.

Wearing my prescription reading shades whenever I feel vaguely migrainey does seem to help - the headache becomes bearable and they cut out a lot of the visual distortion. They are not a total answer, but a combination of them and the odd painkiller may be; anything to make my current weekly afternoon-loss go away because I am so damned tired of them.

Plus, though shades are no longer especially cool, they make me look like some sort of Gothmother and maybe that is a look I should go with.

The reason why we were all at the Film Festival was that they were showing Polymath which is an hour and a half of Samuel R. Delany talking about sex and cities and his family, though oddly not so much about his actual work. It is attractive and quietly spectacular in its portrayal, yet as we all pointed out to each other, for anyone who knows, or knows about, Delany it was not entirely satisfactory simply because it left so much out. You would never have known from this, for example, that the wife of his late teens positively encouraged his discovery of gay cruising grounds rather than being badly treated, or indeed that she is a writer of stature at least comparable with his - Marilyn Hacker. It hardly conveyed that he is one of the greatest theoreticians of sf criticism as well as a great sf writer - it hardly talked about the early books' actual contents. And so on - one could multiply things it did not talk about and which needed to be there, and yet what is there is admirable and impressive.

Perhaps the most important thing we learned is that there will almost certainly be a DVD of this and that the DVD will include significantly vast chunks of material that was not used, and that the entire fifty hours of interview will be archived somewhere safe.

Charlton Heston is dead. I am not going to record anything save that he was wrong about gun control, as so many of us are wrong about things, and that he was wonderful in two of my favourite films - Touch of Evil and as Richelieu in the Dick Lester/George McDonald Fraser Musketeer films. Even when he had to share a screen with Spike Milligan...