This may be one of the hardest homecomings I’ve ever experienced.
The one thing that hasn’t been difficult has been seeing George. After a hot and uncomfortable train ride, I got into Paddington on Thursday afternoon to find that she wasn’t actually waiting for me on the platform- cue a couple of worries, and a number of frustrated tries on her mobile, before the realisation sank in that she was probably delayed on the Tube. And then, there she was, sporting a brand new bright blue headscarf and one of the biggest grins I’d seen in a very long time. Major level hugs, and it was so, so nice to be back with her, reminding me exactly how much she means to me, and how wonderful it is to be with her.
What’s hard is being back in London after nearly four weeks of being in the wilds of Cornwall on my own, and I really wasn’t expecting this. I think it hit me when I got home for the first time, and went into the bathroom- and there, we have two little plants, one of which I bought for George when we visited the Eden Project a little while back. They’re lovely little plants- but they’re the only green things in the flat. I’ve gone from being surrounded by green and living things and lush, gorgeous life, to a place where the only green that’s not at least twenty minutes walk away is in a small pot in the bathroom. And suddenly, I miss the garden in Cornwall like crazy. I miss feeding the fish, and leaving crumbs for the birds, and all the little day-to-day procedures.
I guess another thing that I’ve found difficult is that I finally spoke to the landlord about the whole ‘moving out early’ question, and while it wasn’t all bad news, it wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for either. Basically, he might be prepared to let the contract go a couple of months early- so April 26th 2007 rather than June 26th 2007- but it would probably depend on him finding new people to fill the flat, and if we wanted to move out earlier, we would be legally required to pay the rent until June, or until he found someone new. It’s not an impossible situation, and it’s not like he’s being unreasonable about it- but it does open up the possibility that the only way we’d be able to do it early is to enter the same kind of ‘let’s hope that we can find someone to take our place on the contract’ nonsense that I was hoping that we’d said goodbye to when we got out of the houseshare in Dundalk Road. June 26th 2007 seems like a terribly long way away, and I know that while I’d be able to cope with this until then (just), I know that George simply won’t be able to. I think getting her to cope with London up until February next year will be hard enough for her, but we’re looking at possibilities, and the one thing which we do have on our side is time.
That does, however, mean much more time in this flat, which thanks to the heatwave is now particularly grotesque to live in. It’s raging hot and stuffy in here in the summer, and in six months time I’ll be freezing my arse off, and it’s too much of a change. There are very few points where it’s genuinely cool- and the air gets so hot outside that we have to keep the windows closed and the curtains drawn in a desperate bid to keep the heat out. Heat always flattens me, and leaves me cranky, grouchy and unable to think, so it’s been tricky at points over the last couple of days- particularly the first night, when I really didn’t sleep well. One of the biggest changes is exactly how bloody noisy it is here- I’ll get used to it after a while, but it really is a shock, as was suddenly being around crowds of people going through Soho yesterday on the way to a screening. My brain was just saying “too many people!! too many!!”, and considering that in the last two years, some of my happiest times have been when we’ve been somewhere pleasent and green where there were hardly any other people around, I think life is trying to tell me that, even if it’s a little distance away, I need to get myself out into the country, miles from anywheere, in a little place that’s tucked out of sight with a garden. That, I think, would make me seriously happy.
Anyhow, I slept better last night thanks to drinking like crazy so I didn’t get dehydrated, and it’s possible I might be able to get a few things done today without slowing down into a complete fug. Yes, things may seem a little difficult at the moment, but I’ve got some more subbing work coming up- one day next week, and three the week after, and then I’ve got the Edinburgh Festival, so there’s going to be plenty to do and plenty to keep me occupied.
Just to flashback in a slightly non-linear style, Dad, Linda and Tom arrived safely on Wednesday night, having been able to avoid the horror of the train by arranging for a surprisingly cheap taxi (£240 from Gatwick to Cornwall) to take them all the way home. It was great to see them- if a little weird to have people at the house- and the little problems that had happenned while they were away (like accidentally leaving ring-shaped marks on a wooden work-top) turned out to be easily solvable. I arranged for a taxi the morning after, just to take the pressure off Dad, and said goodbye at about 9.50 am. I was sorry to have to leave, and hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back.
(Mild spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest below!)
On Thursday night, George and I had a Pizza, and then went to the cinema to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (from heron in referred to as POTC2)- and sadly, while it might mean I’m turning into a bit of a curmedgeonly sod, I didn’t actually enjoy it that much. There are a selection of very cool moments, the whole thing looks gorgeous, and there’s some beautiful CGI- and also, in terms of sequels this isn’t one where they’ve completely screwed it up. It’s a lively, colourful bit of blockbuster nonsense that certainly gives you your moneys worth in terms of big-scale action and daftness, but it didn’t manage to transport my slightly tired and overheated psyche into the same level of glorious fun that POTC1 managed. It’s in no way the kind of mess that MATRIX RELOADED was, but it suffers from a few of the same problems- a story that’s been allowed to spill over into two movies in a rather undisciplined way, a sense of slightly bloated excess, and the feeling that having a couple of restrictions in the budget might actually have been a good thing. The story has to jump through far too many hoops in order to get virtually every single character from the original film back together again, and mainly consists of an insane number of quests strung together in a random order, rather than the cleaner, and slightly more ordered storytelling in the first movie, which meant that, for me, the film ended up feeling rather shapeless and incredibly long. My only real criticism of POTC1 is that it’s too long- you could edit out at least ten (if not fifteen) minutes, and while you’d lose some fun moments, it wouldn’t actually affect the story in the slightest and the film itself would be much tighter. The same problem affects POTC2, and sadly they end up messing up a couple of aspects that I really liked in the first film- the fact that Commodore Norrington was actually played as essentially a decent, honorable man rather than the uptight English stereotype that he could so easily have been, and the fact that they didn’t play the relationship between Will, Elizabeth and Jack Sparrow as a love triangle (which is one of the things that makes the first film such fun- Sparrow is convinced that he’s got a chance with Elizabeth, when it’s made plainly obvious by the climax that he never did). Both these aspects are thoroughly reversed in this film, and it’s both a little obvious and rather a shame. George enjoyed it much more than I did- and I may try it again at some point (although, whatever happens, it’s a much lesser film than the original, and all the box-office in the world won’t change that), but ultimately it stretched the laws of physics way too far, and I’ve yet to be convinced that filming back-to-back sequels like this actually works. I’m also slightly bothered by the way that LORD OF THE RINGS has opened the way for films like this, where they don’t need to even bother having an ending. It’s not as abrupt or dumb as MATRIX RELOADED, but it is rather like EMPIRE STRIKES BACK if they accidentally ended it ten minutes early, and the idea of guaranteeing an audience for a sequel next May by giving as little resolution as possible is, to be honest, rather annoying. Still, it’s always possible that it may bounce back with POTC3, so we shall have to see how it goes.
This weekend is lots of sorting out, and hopefully- as long as I can persuade my brain to work- trying to solve the last couple of tweaks on the novel before I send it out to people. I’m both excited and deeply nervous about the idea, but I need to do it quick, as the sooner I get some decent reactions, the better.
Interesting Trailer Linkage:
The Prestige– looks very promising, very atmospheric, and with plenty of moustache action.
The Fountain– a very long-gestating sci-fi project from Darren Aronofsky. Looks to be mega-trippy.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles– CG looks like the perfect vehicle for this, and they’ve captured the style of the original comic books rather well. Could be good…
The Children of Men– gritty near-future apocalyptic stuff, although a pity about the somewhat ‘rousing’ music towards the end.