|But for three years I had roses and apologized to no one
|David J, "V's Theme (Outro)"|
1. I liked the Wachowskis' and James McTeigue's V for Vendetta (2006) the first time I saw it, but I really think I failed to appreciate at the time how unusual it was for the central romance of a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster to be a queer one. Not the unconsummated love of V and Evey, obviously, with its revenge-shadowed parallels in The Count of Monte Cristo (whose romantic ending differs drastically between novel and 1934 Robert Donat film), but the life-altering autobiography of Valerie and the love of her life Ruth, who kiss in full Hollywood slow-motion with the sun flaming between their mouths, whose life until Larkhill is bathed in amber, romantic as an old photograph. The destruction of that relationship—of their lives—is one of the film's epitomes of fascism, along with closeted Gordon being shot for owning a Quran. It's not like I didn't notice the foregrounded queerness at any point in the last ten years, but the real-world singularity of the ideal romance being lesbian just leapt out at me this time around. Sure, it's straight from the graphic novel, but so were many other major plot points that didn't survive the adaptation process. I think I had seen many fewer contemporary Hollywood blockbusters in 2006. Also I didn't recognize most of the supporting cast ten years ago and now I do, hey, Rupert Graves, you look quite different without silver hair, Ben Miles, that is you, I'm still sorry I missed you as Thomas Cromwell, good grief, Eddie Marsan, are you secretly in everything? It's okay, I don't mind.
2. The folksong known alternately as "The Bonfire Carol" or "Judas Was a Red-Headed Man" seems to have welded itself to Guy Fawkes Night in my head, so I'm happy to report that I have a new version this year. Its folklore-vs.-fakelore status is still unknown, but I like that there are now enough recordings to sound as though they were collected from different traditions—this one has a bluesy American feel despite its Australian origins.
Daniel J. Townsend, "A Red-Headed Man"
It was a proper green smoke for all to see
But the fire burned sweet for our Lord on the tree
3. Dinner last night was at Mamaleh's, the first time I have been able to take derspatchel there; their chopped liver is as good as the rest of their sandwiches and it turns out I like cherry phosphate, although between a chocolate phosphate and an egg cream I'd take the latter every time. At the MFA, we looked at William Merritt Chase (who mostly left me cold, oddly, although there were two or three of his paintings or drawings I really liked) and the newly organized galleries of Modern art (Max Beckmann!) and tried to avoid the very loud DJing taking place in the courtyard of the American wing. I took pictures of Rob with the Eames rocking chair that is precisely the same model and generation as the one in our living room and he took at least one of me with a third-century Greek bronze head that might be a portrait of Arsinoë II or maybe a goddess. Afterward we walked around for hours in the South End and Back Bay, sometimes with gelato in our hands and sometimes with books, under a brisk black sky.
I have been up since eight o'clock this morning. I slept about three hours last night. I am afraid that if I nap, I will just derange my schedule further. I'll try to find something to do with my brain.