October 13th, 2009

Electrics, Kavalier and Clay, Medium

You know what? The problem with the electrics seems to have sorted itself out. I switched the master switch back on the night before last and nothing's blown yet. Mysterioso!

I'm reading Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It's a text Judy teaches as part of a course she runs in Jewish Science Fiction. In case you haven't come across it yet, it's a novel about two young Jewish guys who get into writing comic books in the late 1930s. It won a Pulitzer- and it's a delight. I  never really got comic books before, but the way Chabon places them culturally- in a golden age New York, against the backdrop of war and genocide in Europe, with Dali and Welles popping in and doing things highly characteristic of them- makes me want to go look at some early Superman and Wonderwoman and stuff.

In the evenings- after Ailz goes to bed- I've been treating myself to an episode or two of Medium. I'm now halfway through series #3. I like ghost stories- and I like it when the ghosts in them behave the way ghosts do in real life. Medium mostly satisfies me on this count- though there's the odd episode where a ghost will do something wholly implausible like grab a guy and kiss him and I go "tut, tut". Medium is fairly gritty- a cop show with supernatural intervention- and Particia Arquette's character is pleasantly workaday- an unglamorous suburban housewife with a husband and kids who are likeable but not too goddam perfect. That's another thing you need in a ghost story- a baseline of the quotidian. Ghosts are all the scarier for intruding in lives that are ordinary and like our own. Mind you, I've seen so many of these things now that I'm scare-proof. They say our culture is in denial about death. I think that's just not true. It was true of the culture I grew up in- the post-war culture of a generation that had seen too much death and didn't want flash-backs-  but things have changed in the last decade. Medium is just one of a huge number of Noughties TV shows featuring ghosts, bloody murders, autopsies, funeral homes and the like- which suggest that we're now as comfortable facing up to the facts of our mortality as any culture ever is. 

Reverting To Political Type

The closer we draw to the election, the more I find my contempt for the crimes and betrayals of New Labour being washed away by my  visceral dislike of the Tories. I don't suppose I'm alone in this. The thought of the country being run by a bunch of old Etonians and Bullingdonians makes my skin crawl.

Gordon Brown should step aside now (pleading poor eyesight perhaps) and hand over to someone younger and less tainted.  Could David Milliband avert a Tory landslide? Yes, I think he could.  In fact he might even win.