October 11th, 2003


Friday (contains slight Kill Bill spoilers)

An early morning of throbbing head. 73 bus home, trying to read about Peter the Great, but only able to adequately focus with one eye at a time. One woman took a spectacular fall from the bus at Euston, but only because she casually walked off it while it was building up speed to catch the lights. No, you don't want to get off quite now, oh, you have, straight onto you arse. The motorcade sped on.
Although I ignore any drunken promises I make to myself - which generally centre around not drinking so much in future - I like to keep the ones I make to strangers. Stood outside The Toucan last night with Sasha, I met up with Audrey and Yolanda and apparently I had promised to send a list of books to read. I wasn't aware of this promise, but once I'd been reminded of it, it didn't seem that unreasonable a request. We had an entertaining set of half-finished conversations between ourselves and the whole event could be reasonably left at that, but I do have to come up with a list that should lean towards philosophy, which wasn't quite meant in a Lyotard or Deleuze sort of way, rather books that were about something. Books that they had professed an interest in were: a number of French titles which escape me now, the I-Ching, some SF trilogy called Hyperion. This isn't much to work on. Shortly before we parted, one of them received a series of text messages that read broadly along the permutations of "I want to fuck you/Take coke/Up the arse/Apply coke to your genitals etc" This isn't so much to work on either, but I had a momentary picture of Frank UK, as her phone directory described him, sat at home in the Kings Road trying to manage the complex multitask of maintaining his coke high, furiously masturbating and refining his precise sexual needs via one-handed SMS. I feel tired already.
But what books? The only book I can unreservedly recommend at almost all times is VALIS. And then?
As I anticipated, I cut the archiving short and went to see Kill Bill. Uma Thurman is quite outstanding, the fight choreography is top class, but I'm not sure that it couldn't have been one film, instead of this artificial divide into two parts. Was the going to Okinawa section really necessary? Why the curiously displaced feel of the first scene as if it didn't quite belong there? What's with the questions? Mmm, some judicious editing might have been an idea and the thing could have been one film. The amount of belief that needs to be suspended in the film is also an occasional problem: so Uma murders two men once out of her coma and then spends 13 hours in the truck willing her legs back into action. I could take that, but not the idea that cops would not have showed up by this point and have scoped out his lurid yellow pick-up. The film isn't interested in that sort of detail and quite vehemently opposes it (i.e. the samurai sword as carry on luggage). This is very much a fantasy world.
My main gripe with the film is Lucy Liu. I just get very uncomfortable having to look at her for more than a tenth of a second, it's the eyes that are the problem. Every time I see her, in this or any film, I think to myself 'Is there no other Asian-American actress available in a country of how many million?' - I just don't get what people like about her so much. The part seems written explicitly for her, there's this unnecessary sub-story about her Chinese-Japanese-American bloodline being questioned by some oyabun, whereas a more pertinent question would have been why she has such off-putting eyes. I don't see why Chiaki Kuriyama (who kind of reprises her Battle Royale role as the bodyguard Go Go Yubari) couldn't have played Liu's role, since a sociopath in a schoolgirl uniform running the top Tokyo gang is no more unbelievable than most of the other stuff. Basically Liu sucks and therefore I spent 25% of the film cringing.
Nevertheless, the fact I'm crapping on about the film indicates that I do quite like it and it's hard not to be won over by its exuberance. Enough said.
Still can't think of a second book.
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