At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, August 20, 2004


I'm almost done reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. I was a bit hesitant at first, thinking that it might be stuffily Victorian, but it's actually quite suspenseful. The only thing that sounds antiquated to modern ears is the frequent praise of various male characters for conforming to the gentlemanly ideal--duty first, courage, the stiff upper lip--although as far as I'm concerned that's our problem, not Stoker's. I might try to get hold of Lair of the White Worm next. (I don't recommend, however, Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of the former, or Ken Russell's adaptation of the latter.)

I saw Bon Voyage, which came out on DVD a week or two ago. It's about a budding writer in occcupied France torn between two damsels in distress: a manipulative film actress (Isabell Adjani) who accidentally killed an aggressive ex-lover, and a bespectacled young scientist (Virginie Ledoyen) who is trying to escape to England with her brilliant physicist mentor and the makings of an atomic bomb. The pacing was a little too hectic, with almost every scene involving some character franctically trying to chase another one down. Still, it's good old-fashioned film making, a blend of action, romance, humor, and Nazis.

Recent disc purchases:

  • James Brown, 20 All Time Greatest Hits--Yeah, the songs all pretty much sound the same (9th chords all the way) but it doesn't seem to matter.
  • Ornette Coleman, Free Jazz--The record store clerk made sure to let me know (twice, no less) that I could return this within ten days of purchase for a full refund. Yes, it's weird, even for my tastes: as polyphonous as Dixieland and as dissonant as Schoenberg. But at least it's got Eric Dolphy playing bass clarinet.
  • Devo, Hits--Maybe not such a good value since I've already got Freedom of Choice and Oh No It's Devo, from which many of these tracks are drawn, but I had to have "Satisfaction" and "Beautiful World."


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