Mavis's Shoe

Author of two novels and a creative memoir.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Avast, Me Hearties

After the delights of Chagall last week, my brain still being weary due to the bug and not capable of words in the way I’d want it to be, I moved on to various other visual delights to occupy my time and prevent the rising boredom of the sick bed. The first was the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof the reason being the recently acquired knowledge that said fiddler is based on Chagall’s many fiddlers on roofs, in the sky, on donkey back and hidden in vases of flowers etc. This was a very nice circle to round, linking ten year old me to my somewhat older self now. Ten year old me adored it and played the record over and over.(Sorry Mum.) But this is hardly surprising as the music is spectacular and the story moving and epic. Certain songs have been playing on a loop in my head all week and occasionally I break into song.

Next I found two photo books on my shelves, the first being Century, by Phaidon, and is a series of important photos of the last century. The main disadvantage of this book is that it is necessarily heavy to hold for a poor sickie like myself, the other being it makes rather depressing viewing.

This was followed by the smaller and much more exciting ‘The Photo Book’ also by Phaidon and is a collection of fantastic images by some of the most important photographers of recent years. Many of these photos are very strange indeed and therefore appeal to my internal storyteller.

After struggling to find anything interesting at all on the TV I joined Love Film and watched Source Code which I can recommend highly for its constant twists and surprises, most especially the very smily last ‘8 minute journey’. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean. Clever plot.

Then my dearly beloved, going a little stir crazy himself, took me on a couple of drives out to favourite places, like a proper old invalid, the last one finishing in Waterstones where I purchased a journal for recording the strange events of my life (still untouched - journalling just doesn’t come naturally to me) and a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island complete with a very pretty parrot on the front. (A few years ago I inherited the family library. Sadly it had been badly plundered before its arrival and most of the best had been taken, including Treasure Island.) To my shame, I don’t think I ever read Treasure Island as a child, being pointed by well-meaning parents in the direction of What Katy did, What Katy Did Next and Anne of Green Gables. Better late than never however and, like Source Code, it is a tale of endless twists and excitement and, as it turns out, the perfect anecdote to gastro-enteritis. Don’t tell me the end! It’s all I can do to get back to work and not finish reading it this morning.

However, in a fit of pirate allegiance, in fact a long and heart-felt loyalty, beloved and I went to the flicks last night and watched, in the company of only five other viewers, two ice creams and a packet of mint aero musket balls, The Pirates! – In An Adventure With Scientists. This has to be the least promising of titles to have been around in a while, and it must be said we were disappointed on the pirate front, there being very little real pirating going on, not much swashbuckling, no blood, no full-on genuine nastiness, but in its place lots of wit and fun and a great deal of rather sweet gentleness. This too was healing. Aaah. And plenty of fun to be had in the detail.

But Avast, me hearties, I have chapters to read, or is it write?


  1. I enjoyed Source Code; very much my kind of film but I’ll basically watch anything remotely science fiction even though I don’t seem to have the ability to write the damn stuff which is a shame. I think part of the problem there is that as soon as I put pen to paper I realise I’m being derivative. There is a wonderful site called TV Tropes which I often get lost in because it shows just how little truly original stuff there is out there. The last thing I looked up was death to find a list of characters who have returned (from Sherlock Holmes through Dixon of Dock Green, Superman, Spock and Buffy to Kenny from South Park). Great stuff. As you enjoyed Source Code could I recommend you check out Primer? It’s a very grownup time travel film and I can guarantee you’ll have to watch it more than once. When I first saw the film I found a timeline online and Christ was it convoluted. Also the Spanish film Timecrimes has an interesting take on the subject if you can find a copy.

  2. Thanks Jim I'll try those links. Especially intrigued by the TV Tropes thing.

    I know what you mean by feeling 'derivative'. I have that uncomfortable feeling just writing the sequel to Mavis's Shoe which is probably the only place deriving is allowed. It's as if everything a writer does has to be absolutely completely and utterly original and never done before. Daft really.

  3. Stumbled across this site which has two graphs that explain how the timeline in Primer works following on from this review.

  4. Wow, Jim, thank you, that's fascinating. I don't know the book or the film but that's one scary plan. Puts me to shame. Margaret Atwood once said writing a novel was like grappling with a greased pig in a dark room, which sounds like the kind of stupid thing I would do.