Of Siouxsie, Film-Witterings and Adventures in Exam-Taking

Thursday, the 21st of October, 2004 - 20 to 1am

Current Song ~ "Ameno" by Era.

A mere year-and-a-bit after it was released on video, I have finally had the opportunity to watch The Pianist. Oh yes, I'm that with it when it comes to acclaimed cinematic releases of the modern age.

My initial reaction can be summed up thus: 'Meh'.
Which given that I am inclined to weep over anything with any kind of poignancy, was not a reaction I was expecting to have to any WWII film.

I had previously thought that just about any film featuring a world war and musicians and Jewish people would work for me by sheer force of pet interests - I mean really, fling a bit of homosexuality in there, and you've got my film elements of choice covered.
And, indeed, the film was not without its fine points: in particular, the excellence of the supporting cast, most especially Ed Stoppard and Thomas Kretschmann, who played interesting characters and played them well.
I just can't seem to put my finger on exactly why the film didn't quite work for me. I am loathe to point that finger accusingly at Adrien Brody, who was undeniably acting his socks off, but he seemed to me to never really blend properly with the rest of the film. If that makes any sense whatsoever, which I don't believe it does.
Hmm. The best comparison that I can think of are those films where a characters goes back/forward in time, and even if they're having a really good go at not being conspicuous, they're always distinctly 'other'.

And now I shall move swiftly on before I further confirm suspicions that I have gone quite, quite mad...
As might also be indicated by the fact that I just closed Internet Explorer, despite clearly needing it to upload this entry. Good grief.

In other news, last Friday was uncommonly busy - firstly because the morning brought with it the three-hour end-of-course OU History of Science exam.

As usual, the tricky bit was getting there.
Miraculously, despite misreading the tube map, I had no problems either getting to Chancery Lane (aside from the woman next to me fainting, which was rather disconcerting, but later on I passed a busker playing Hey Jude on the saxophone and was much soothed) or finding the City Temple Church.
I did not, however, bank on it having two entirely unrelated floors called 'Level 2'.
Ah, these religious buildings and their fun little quirks...

The exam itself went reasonably well.
I picked out four questions from the selection provided - including, to my great joy and jubilation, a question on a subject that I hoped would crop up - and answered them in two hours and fifty minutes.
My answers were not brilliant, but I think they all answered the questions set rather than going off on mad tangents, and at the very least, they had proper introductions and conclusions.
They also only contained one fact gleaned from the Newton episode of The Mark Steel Lectures (coincidentally shown the night before), which I thought was remarkably restrained of me.

Having made it through my first ever written exam with my mind and a full compliment of limbs intact, I had a bit of a breather in which to glory in the wonder that is tea and have dinner before heading back off to London - this time to see Siouxsie perform at the Royal Festival Hall.

Many of you will be aware of my deep, abiding love of Siouxsie & the Banshees, and will therefore be unsurprised that when a pair of concerts featuring Siouxsie performing songs from every phase of her career with orchestral accompaniment was announced, I was right in there, metaphorically clutching my hard-earned savings in my sticky little palms. (There, you see? E-commerce need not totally eliminate those touching little details from tales such as this!)

The orchestral element of the concert could, perhaps have been a tad bit over-hyped, given that your average orchestra consists of more than a strings section of eight, a brass section of three, and a lone harpist with the thankless task of doing basically nothing that anyone could hear.
It also didn't get to do much, the programme having left out such obvious strings-involving Banshees favourites as Dazzle and The Killing Jar.

I did, however, get the rare and beautiful treat of hearing all eleven-and-a-half minutes of The Rapture complete with strings; and then, in the encore section, I got what I had been trying not to hope for too much just in case it didn't happen:

Face to Face. My all-time favourite song by anyone ever. Performed with real live strings.
A moment to squee about, most definitely, and alone, worth every penny of the ticket price.

My plans to note down the complete programme were somewhat foiled by its dwelling largely in the realms of the Creatures back catalogue, with which I am not hugely conversant - tracks that I recognised included Godzilla, Another Planet, and 2nd Floor (the latter of which was, if memory serves me correctly, the one that was drawn out like an Alan Rickman death scene).

Banshees-wise, we got (in addition to the above mentioned) Dear Prudence, Kiss Them For Me, Happy House, Trust In Me, Cities in Dust, Not Forgotten and (as the final song of the concert) Spellbound. A rather eccentric selection of songs, but all very spiffy to hear live. (The ones I especially appreciated being in bold, to save on repetitive title-writing.)

Oh, and as an added bonus, aside from the moments when everyone decided to stand, I got to see! Hooray for not being stuck in standing room only behind a very large man! (Which, as a number of you will be all too aware, is the typical lot of the diminuitive rock concert goer...)

Good grief, this has ended up rather longer than I expected it to; and the hour rather later. I had best be off, sleep being generally held to be a good thing, and all that...

Toodle-pip, folks!


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