Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

18 May 2011

What I'm Reading...

I helped one of my teachers move out of her office yesterday – she has a fancy new job and just needed a little muscle to lift a few boxes. We got to chatting after the muscle – me and my teacher and another PhD student – and she shamed me a little, telling me I've been watching too many movies and not doing enough work on my prospectus.

She's right, of course. I have felt like giving myself a break. And a break for me means watching movies.

But I am back on the wagon again. Reading texts that involve male/male rape like a good little grasshopper.

 My pal Joel gave me a tip on three plays by Philip Ridley (he wrote Mercury Fur, which I found disturbing a couple years back.) So yesterday and today I read The Pitchfork Disney, The Fastest Clock in the Universe and Ghost from a Perfect Place. They were okay. Early so-called "In-Yer-Face" style, these three plays pre-date Kane's Blasted and Ravenhill's Shopping and Fucking. They remind me of Anthony Nielson a bit, although Ridley is, I think, better than Nielson. They are also a lot seedier than Kane and Ravenhill, which is probably why they reminded me of Nielson.

Still, he has some clever, cruel characters, and a few rather odd, disturbing, nightmarish situations. Take, for example, this, from a (male) character who is attempting to seduce a fifteen-year-old:

I gave him what he wanted. A new big brother with a shoulder to cry on. So don't get all righteous with me. We're all as bad as each other. All hungry little cannibals at our own cannibal party. So fuck the milk of human kindness and welcome to the abbatoir!

This character sits for the first twenty minutes of the play in front of a tanning lamp in only his underwear. I was charmed, obviously.

I am also reading the novel Sleepers by Lorenzo what's-his-name: the one the movie is based on. I am bored; mostly because the writing is simply not very good. All nostalgia for the lost days of Hell's Kitchen in the late 1960s. The guy writes like it was paradise and all they did was read Dumas and Melville and Hugo. I am skeptical. It's also been ages since I saw the movie, but it's a Barry Levinson flick if I'm not mistaken. Which makes sense: that man is the king of nostalgia.