Thursday, March 25, 2004

Managed to pick up a full-blown cold after all, so I’m on a sicky at home today. Last night we went to see Zatoichi with Mark and Babs. It’s certainly not as intense as most of Kitano’s previous work. In fact a lot of it was really funny. Some great use of sound as well, culminating in an amazing final scene, which is like a crazy mixture of 1940’s Hollywood musical and a pop video set in 18th century Japan.

After seeing the movie we had an excellent meal at Bocanova. My Squid and Pancetta starter was lovely; the main course of Sea Bass with Fennel and prawn was absolutely delicious. The only slight disappointment was the baked cheesecake dessert, somehow the texture was not quite right and lacked flavour. All in all though I would certainly recommend this really pleasant restaurant.

Whilst snuffling my way through the day I’ve started to read The Fortress Of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem and it’s hooked me in straight away. Some very evocative pieces of on the politics of playing with other kids started me thinking about my own childhood. I never really did the playing in the street with other kids thing. I used to play lots of football with friends in our back garden, which I fondly recall as being absolutely huge; when in reality it’s a pretty average size. Occasionally I would wander up the road to play with a some kids who lived up there and we would play in the lane behind their house, but I never really felt like they were people that I really wanted to spend lots of time with. I never really saw the point of hanging around with nothing specific to do, even as a child I spent a lot of time reading and I always loved listening to the radio.

I would spend hours trying to pick up BBC world service or strange European stations, which always seemed wonderfully exciting and exotic. Later when my interest in cricket kicked in I would happily spend virtually the whole summer holiday period watching England taking a pounding from Australia or the West Indies. When we went away on family holidays, I would walk around with my radio and earpiece avidly putting myself in the strange middle-aged world of those marvellous old cricket commentators.

I think that I must have been a terribly snooty child, I always thought that most kids of my age were really just a bit dull and boring, I needed to be entertained by being taken to a world where everything was new and interesting and importantly for me, had a history. My friends and I all knew the same stuff whereas adults had lived a life, seen and done things. Consequently, as many of my fiends will know, when I was young (and having a fine time, despite the fact that all this may make me sound like some solitary kid), I really wanted to be middle aged. I longed for the tweed jacket, with the patches on the elbows and the contentment that comes with finding your niche in life. Of course now that I am middle aged, I know that things are not that simple and that life is constantly changing all around you. I suppose the first time that that fact hit me was when my parents suddenly divorced when I was about 18. Life was different after that, but no less interesting or rewarding. It was only then that I really discovered the joy of live music and suddenly I was hardly ever at home. Recent events within our family have shown me how little control we really have over our life, but long ago I decided that you really couldn’t waste time and energy worrying about things, which you can’t control. Sometimes. I fear that this may make look a little unsympathetic, but I don’t have much patience for people that wallow in their own or others misfortune.

My word, what a lot of waffle the first 30 pages of the book has prompted!

Anyway, would like to point out a couple of additions to list of recommended blogs. 1st up my old friend Mr P. has taken the plunge and will be entertaining us with his stories of guitars and Japanese cars, we share a mutual obsession with all things Japanese. Talking of which another interesting site, which I’ve been reading lately, is Apricot Says, which looks at life in the UK from a Japanese perspective. Finally the excellent Lady Lucy site keeps me informed of all sorts of interesting artistic things going on in Bristol and at The Cube in particular. All of them of worthy of your time.


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