Saturday 17 April 2010

Paris, Texas

I'm still not sure how I made it through the 80s without seeing this movie. I remember being quite taken with another Wim Wenders film "Until The End Of The World", and Nastassja Kinski is extremely watchable. Yet somehow, I first saw it last night.

I'm glad I waited. Although I've always enjoyed slower-paced pieces like this, I'm now old enough to appreciate the beauty and subtlety that infuses this excellent story of a broken family trying to repair itself. There's some spectacular photography - amazing skies, rich colours, and all in the bleak wastes of the desert or the outskirts of LA. The acting is faultless, and the story builds steadily to a powerful and emotional climax. Ry Cooder's haunting soundtrack is perfect.

All this, and Nastassja Kinski too. I'm so very glad I finally saw it.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

A little closer to the end

This weekend, I finally managed to complete the main thread of my novel. I wrote what will be the final sentence, and closed my laptop with a sigh of relief. It's been a long time - much too long actually - but I can finally say goodbye to my serial killer character. At least until it's time to do the edit.

I thought I'd feel happier about it. Writing about someone like that can be rather creepy, and the sheer volume of remaining work has been hanging over me somewhat. But in the end, it was rather anticlimatic. Perhaps I'm just weary of the character. Or perhaps I'm all too aware of the large amount of writing still to be done.

The way that the story is structured, I've got somewhere between a third and a quarter of it still to go. It's time to get into the head of my emotionally damaged detective, and weave his story through the killer's. In some ways, it'll be nice to have a "change of scenery" but writing about someone with D.I. Harland's sort of outlook can be a bit gloomy at times.

Anyway, it's another milestone reached, and a step closer to the end. And that, at least, is something to be pleased about.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Birthday Bank Holiday

This year, Anna's birthday coincided with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend so I thought it might be nice to drag her, kicking and screaming, to various shopping centres and insist that she choose lots of nice things that I could buy for her.

Saturday was spent wandering the mean streets of Bath. Fortune didn't exactly favour us - a planned visit to a glass-blowing workshop was unavailable when we arrived, and the rain made our efforts to locate particular shops a bit soggy. I thought that Google Maps on my iPhone would guide us swiftly to anywhere we desired, but Bath has recently undergone a fair bit of redevelopment, and many businesses have moved from one end of town to another.

In the end though, it all worked out. Our wanderings unexpectedly took us past a comic shop, where Cam was able to stock up on reading material. This sustained him through the periods of waiting while Anna compared and contrasted various items of clothing, before deciding what to try on.

In the end, it was a good day, but just the first installment of a double-header weekend.

Monday saw us returning to the station for another journey, this time to Bristol. We'd decided to book tickets online (seating can be very limited on that particular route) but there was an issue with the tickets when they emerged from the machine. Despite identifying this before we travelled, we had to pay for another set of tickets, and pay a non-refundable £10 admin fee to lodge a refund request, and then discover that no seating had been reserved for us. However, I have learned the valuable lesson that you should never ever use First Great Western's website, so that's something I suppose.

Bristol was great fun. We stopped at a lovely patisserie where my eggs benedict was just so beautifully done that Cam actually admitted that he wished he'd ordered it too. This finally brought balance and closure to the great Stirling Fish Finger Sandwich issue from our Road Trip last year, and I think we can all move on with our lives ;-)

After taking time to consider all the shops, Anna returned to Harvey Nichols and bought the boots I knew she was going to. Everyone was lovely to her, allowing her to savour the retail moment, despite an effeminate little personal shopper who bleated something about "not taking photos in store".

And then it was time to leave, escaping from Bristol before the credit card company could get a response team out to hose down my overheating credit card.

Cake, chocolate, comics (and in Anna's case, dresses and handmade boots) - a good time was had by all.