Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That's all for now

I realised only yesterday, although why it didn't occur to me before I don't know, that I don't enjoy talking about myself. Well, that's not quite true, any of it... I have thought this before and whether I like talking about myself depends on the company I am in and whether I feel comfortable with those I am with. It all leads me on to the reason why I haven't updated this blog for a long time. I have nothing to say. Except that I do. Oh dear, this is getting nowhere! I have a lot to say but I don't want to talk about any of it. I am a private person and I don't want the world, especially one of strangers, to know my inner thoughts, feelings or much else. But a blog doesn't have to be that does it? Well what is it then?

So many times I have sat down to write a blog post and I've asked myself why? What am I saying and why am I saying it? Does there have to be a purpose? Does it matter if its complete nonsense or boring? Only to me it does matter. I feel that I am not completely at peace with myself so I can't say a lot of the stuff that I want and perhaps need to say. Instead I refer obliquely to things that are important or skirt round subjects I don't want to confront. It must be very unsatisfying for someone else to read all these vague references that I make.

To get to the point I see no reason for continuing with this blog. It doesn't serve any useful purpose, it has nothing interesting or new to say because I can't fulfill those requirements. Moreover I get no pleasure from writing this blog, not sure that I ever did and there doesn't seem much point continuing with something that is so lacking in purpose or enjoyment. So there it is, all I have to say for now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I recently finished reading Atonement by Ian McEwan. I made the unfortunate mistake of watching the film when I was about two thirds way through the book. I say unfortunate because the film wasn't quite as good as I remember when I saw it last year at the Tottenham Court Odeon. I don't think it was seeing it on the small screen that disappointed, rather it was the fact that the book is so rich and powerful and the film manages to convey little of the rawness and beauty of McEwans's prose. The trouble is I think the book is pretty much unfilmable as so much of it is about what is going on in the character's heads. The only section where the film really wins is in that extraordinary Steadicam shot panning around the beach at Dunkirk where the British Army is waiting to be rescued. It is a beautiful, awesome sequence, which reminded me very much of the Omaha Beach landings that opened Saving Private Ryan.

As for the novel, well it is very clever and I admit the film is equally good in revealing the final twist, although it does it rather differently. Essentially what McEwan's novel is about is the stories that we all tell, both about ourselves and to each other. It blurs the lines between fact and fiction to an extent that they become indistinguishable such that the story becomes more important than whether it is what really happens. We all like happy endings but Atonement doesn't have one so our author - the storyteller - creates one to satisfy that need to know that it all ends well. I also liked a theme that is consistent with the other McEwan books I've read about how the lives of the two main characters Robbie and Cecilia, are abruptly and cruelly shattered in a spontaneous moment. It is the utter randomness of fate that I find striking and appalling, that at any moment our lives can be sent on a disastrous course through no real fault of our own.

Finally, McEwan's prose I find delightful. It is evocative and although I'd seen the film before reading the book it wasn't so much images from the film that came flooding back but rather a much richer and expansive picture painted by McEwan's words.