I finally watched a film!
Family illness forced my wife to travel to Malta to visit her family and I used that time to watch the Japanese Animé film Your Name (she does not like animé). Before that, I really tried hard to watch the film Mr Turner but had to give up — Timothy Spall’s grunting and scowling was just too much for me.
Your Name is a body-swap film in which a young boy and girl occasionally swap places and there is also a darker element to the story as it explores alternative realities and the impact of loss. It reminded me of another wonderful Japanese film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. There’s a good deal of humour in the film and it playfully includes a recurring joke centred on the first thing a young man would check out if he woke up as a girl…
My music of the month is Erland Cooper’s Solan Goose, an album I learned of through my subscription to Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound. This is beautiful, ethereal and minimal, music reflecting the stark, tree-less beauty of the Orkney islands. My music of the month should have been The Decemberists new album I’ll Be Your Girl. The previous album The King is Dead was always going to be a hard act to follow and unfortunately I don’t think they quite pulled it off. It all felt like more of the same until the last couple of tracks and my particular favourite, Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes.
Some of the books I have read (more precisely re-read) this month were influenced by anniversaries — Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published 200 years ago, and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Interestingly both featured references to Edinburgh landmarks I know so well. Forced to choose, I would rush into the waves to save jean Brodie. I had forgotten what a wonderfully waspish character she is and just how quickly the book rattles along through the lives of ‘The Brodie Set’ as they fall under her influence to varying degrees. As a more mature reader I was particular struck by how of a character the city of Edinburgh is in this story and the strong themes of authoritarianism, whether it be teachers, fascism or the church.