Sunday, December 21, 2003

Idiot Wind

As is often the case during the early hours after an all-day session, I woke up in the middle of last night and couldn't get back to sleep. I also discovered a hard, wet and nasty wind blowing. The weather outside was pretty dreadful, too. Still, at least I have understanding neighbours, not like some people.

So, anyway, I got up to make myself a brew and switched on the box. There was an episode of an old 90s sitcom called Action showing. The only thing that really struck me about it was there was a character who was a former porn star called Reagan Busch whose crotch had 'received more visitors than Disneyland'. I just think Reagan Bush is the best idea for a porn star name ever...her co-stars could justifiably close their eyes and think of the Pentagon.

Anyway, talking about porn subversions (as if much else gets done on Parallax View but c'mon, humour me), those wacky New York blogger types have been thinking up top-shelf nomers for this year's movies. My personal favourite ideas from the list are: 28 Gays Later; Fill Bill Volume 1 and, best of all, Bruce All-Tighty (kudos to TMFTML for that Carrey-On capery). It's often the simplest and crudest that are the funniest, don't you think?

Getting our mind out of the gutter to look up at the stars for a while, go take a look at Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums Of The Year. As per last year, there's about 10 estimable albums in the Top 20, and the rest of the 50 appears made up of wilfully obscure choices they quite possibly made up on the spot. Or maybe it's just me that's simply not indie enough these days. Missy and Bubba don't get a look in here, either (as with the previously discussed NME selection) and there's also no place for 'Elephant', so presumably the Pitchfork staffers aren't expecting to bump into punkass pugilist Jack White anytime soon.

(Parallax View will be delivering its own best singles/albums choices of 2003 sometime in the next week. Relax Jack, 'Elephant' is sure to stomp in there somewhere, quit hitting me in my bad eye, willya?)

I popped down to the Bescot yesterday to see The Hammers stubbornly hang on to a share of the points against an in-form Walsall despite being reduced to ten men for all but the first five minutes of the game, thanks to Jermain Defoe getting sent-off for 'violent conduct'. Walsall veteran Paul Merson, bless 'im, is such a philanthropist these days he decided to make up the numbers by passing the ball to Matthew Etherington who delivered the cross for Marlon Harewood's opening goal. Merse also missed a sitter in the second half following another worrying gaffe from Ian Pearce, but some concerted home pressure through the second period was sure to pay off sooner or Leitao, and sure enough Jorge popped up with the equaliser. Had it been 11 v 11 I'd have been disappointed with the point, but in the circumstances a hard-working well-organised performance earned rave notices from veteran Hammers fans who've seen many a West Ham capitulation when reduced to 10 men. It was nice to see Michael Carrick looking interested for once, as well.

I've fallen behind on Mason and Dixon Watch this week so I've got 100 pages or so of Pynchon's prose to digest and deconstruct. Not that there's been a hell of a lot of plot, the story sidetracking into a series of anecdotes. There's some time spent explaining the processes by which the book's heroes use astronomy to devise the boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania, and we are introduced to a widow and her equally beautiful daughter whose sob story about property rights gives a human example of why the line was important and contentious. M and D continue drinking and arguing, and there's a French chef who tells the tale of a robot duck. The mechanical beast is constructed in such faithful anatomic detail by its inventor, the less-than-aromatic duck even produces its own faeces. There's dedication behind that defecation, for sure. But when the inventor goes as far as adding genital equipment, the creature takes flight and escapes before you can say robot! duck!

The French cook is worried that he might get picked on by the 'kin 'ard cunard because of his many recipes that feature the bill, but the deadeye duck gives him a reprieve as long as he helps him find the inventor's other (as yet, sexually indeterminate) prototype, for which he has (orange?) saucy designs. Thus the cook feels perpetually haunted in these efforts by the deadeye duck who can fly so fast he can turn invisible. I think Pynchon is trying to make a statement with regards to the nature of creation or evolution here: alternatively, he's just gone quackers.

Mason and Dixon then stumble upon a gaudy house of gaming repute, run by Lord and Lady Lepton. Dixon is troubled with lust for the latter, whom he once espied kissing a stablegirl during his youth in Durham: while Mason suspects her husband of being a French spy. The chapter nevertheless ends with the pair russian into the roulette room.

More Mason and Dixon Watch as the week progresses.


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