D4D

Improving sarcasm for thirty years

12 Years A Driver

Blimey, I’ve been driving now for 12 years today.  That really surprises me, how the time has flown.

I dread to imagine how many miles I’ve covered in that time – all I know is it’s well over quarter of a million miles. 120,000 in the Mondeo, another 120,000 in the Saab, and coming up to 20,000 in the Kia already.  Of course, that doesn’t include the ones I covered before buying the Mondeo, or any of the hire vehicles I’ve had in that time.

However you look at it, that’s pretty scary.

It’s hard to imagine life now without driving – if I were to lose my licence, it would change things radically, including having to change where I lived, where/how I worked, and many other things.  I value that freedom and licence more than I ever actually thought I would.

I’ve no idea what the future will bring, but I’m pretty sure that whatever comes along, I’ll be driving there.

Five Years A Bankrupt

It’s five years today since I declared myself bankrupt. As of today, I’m in the final year of it being on my record – and who knows what’ll happen from there.

It’s been a tough process, and it’s not one I’d recommend to anyone else – if nothing else, I’m pretty sure that most people going through it would also end up losing a lot more than I did – but for me, it’s worked out for the best.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts along the way, and will end up writing another post for a year’s time, when it’s finally all done and dusted.

Detroit

In a weirdly – and unintentionally – connected thing to seeing the Soul Of A Nation exhibition over the weekend, I also ended up seeing “Detroit” last night.

Detroit” is a new film from Katheryn Bigelow (the director of the original Point Break, Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and many others) about the Detroit (unsurprisingly) 12th Street race riot, and in particular the Algiers Motel incident.

That incident is (yet another) one I didn’t really know anything about until seeing the film.  I don’t believe it’s one that has gone into ‘common knowledge’ – while I’m no expert on these things, it’s not one I’ve ever heard even mentioned, and I don’t honestly think it’s even left a large imprint on American history.

Anyway, the film is an interesting one – but (in my opinion) tries too hard, telling too many stories in one film. There could have been a film about the riots themselves, the causes, the people, the effects. There could have been a film about just the Algiers incident – although I suspect that the conclusion of that would’ve been deeply unsatisfactory. And there could’ve been one about the aftermath, the court case(s), the people, and what happened to them afterwards.

But trying to do all of those within the scope of one film – admittedly, a bloody long film at 14o-odd minutes – is difficult, at best. It starts with the riots, and we don’t even really meet any of the “main” characters for a good half an hour.  Then we go to the Algiers, which is as bad as it could be – and probably pretty truthful, as one of the people involved was on set every day, advising and providing input. And then for the final half hour or so, we’re in the court case, the details, the results, and the aftermath.

If the film had been longer, it might’ve gelled better, become a whole story. As it is, it feels overly-edited, almost like a ‘greatest hits’ rather than a full story. It’s still a good film, and a story that should be told. It’s just that the story deserves to be properly told, not in a hodge-podge of setpieces.

Saturday – Soul of A Nation

While I was in Tate Modern on Saturday, I also went to see the “Soul Of A Nation” exhibition, which is about Black Art during the Civil Rights movement.  It’s not one I was really planning on seeing, and more of an impulse “Oh, why not” thing, but it was still interesting.

The Civil Rights movement happened in the US before I was born – not by much, but obviously by enough.  I know the basics of it, but not a lot of the detail, and always feel I should know more about it.   It absolutely amazes me that it was all relatively recent, that it was all happening fifty years ago. In that context, it’s amazing how far we’ve come – although there’s still a long way to go.

Anyway, it was an interesting exhibition – although there was a significant amount of (in my opinion) shite stuff, there was also enough to make it worth having gone in.  I also got to learn about AfriCOBRA, the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists – most of which was admittedly bad, but still, made me laugh just for its honesty.

One of the other things I found interesting (and slightly sad) was that in an exhibition so deeply connected to Black Art, African-American History and Civil Rights, every single person viewing it was white.  There was a quote on one wall, the gist of which was that Visual Arts were the biggest bastion of White Male artists, and the exhibition visitors certainly helped to reinforce tbat.

All told, it was interesting enough. I don’t think I’d bother seeing it again, but I’m still glad I did get to see it.

Saturday – Giacometti

On Saturday, I went into London for a walk, and to visit a couple of exhibitions – which turned out to be three – as well as food and the like.  As there’s other stuff going on this week that I can’t be naffed to go into right now, I thought I’d write a bit about some thoughts related to the exhibitions. So that’s the plan.

The first one on the list was Tate Modern’s exhibition of works by Giacometti. Up ’til now, I’ve seen a few of his works, but not loads – and I’ve honestly never seen the appeal of them. They’re certainly distinctive, strange, and of note – but I certainly didn’t love them, and didn’t really get why he’s so well regarded.

Having seen the full exhibition, I still don’t love them, but I understand more of why he’s regarded. Oddly, his statues still do very little for me – I find them kind of odd, and kind of unsettling, but nothing more than that – and I certainly couldn’t sit and just look at one block of statues, as one person was doing. (He’d even brought along his own camping stool in order to do so, God love him)  However, I really liked some of the sketches, and some of his oil work that looked like it had been done in charcoal.

I think that in some ways I wasn’t convinced of Giacometti as being an actual artist – OK, he could do the sculptures, but that could’ve been just the one thing. Having seen the sketches, drawings, and paintings, I do realise that he’s a lot more of an artist than I’d thought, and a lot more talented.

That doesn’t make me like the sculptures and so on, and I still wouldn’t go from here to the bog to see another exhibition of his work, but all the same, I’m glad I did go.

 

Under The Knife

This could almost be a PIDU post – but it’s not, and I don’t quite know why myself.  But anyway…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching Botched, a programme about Plastic Surgery, and primarily fixing the bad jobs that’ve already been done on people. It’s a ‘reality’ series, and kind of annoying, but also weirdly interesting.  I find it fascinating to see the things that people have had done to themselves, the things that they feel insecure about, and what they put themselves through in order to feel better.

Personally, I don’t get that whole surgical self-improvement thing – I’m far more of an “accept what you are/have” person, which seems to result in a lot less stress.  Then again, I’ve never been pretty, so I don’t have that innate vanity that sees Just One Thing that’s wrong. I don’t feel the need to “fix” things, so it’s all just a bit… alien to me.

The people who do want work done (and in the greatest number of cases, it’s definitely ‘want’ rather than ‘need’) are of interest to me, looking at the mindsets that are so obsessed with that One Thing that needs ‘fixing’, that if they fix that, then everything will be fine (while also never actually addressing the underlying insecurities that are driving the desire for surgery in the first place)  and wondering why they only look at fixing the physical, rather than the mental and emotional issues that cause them to focus on these things.

More than anything, I think I feel sad for a lot of the people, to have lives that are so focused on something like that, and to be so desperate to get it fixed.

Anyway, it’s a rotten reality programme, but it still interests me for the people involved. Which, I suppose, is the whole point of reality programming.

Bad Headline

One of my free local papers had an interesting front-page headline this week.  It does seem a bit specific (and somewhat prophetic) though – I mean, if they already know that someone else will die within the week, wouldn’t you think they’d add in more guards, or make the area a bit safer during that time?

(And yes, I know what they meant to say – but it’s not what it actually says!  Or at least it’s rather more open to interpretation, anyway)

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