The centre of Glasgow (specifically George Square and surrounds) has been brought to a bit of a standstill this week and the next couple of weeks as Brangelina are in town – Brad Pitt is filming a zombie movie, “World War Z”, and George Square has been turned into Philadelphia for the duration. I took quite a few pictures this evening – there’s a set of them all on flickr here. Some buildings have been transformed (the court house is particularly effective) and the street signs added. There was quite a buzz around there, though the man himself was nowhere to be seen.
There’s been plenty of talk in the local media as to whether the film is “World War Zee” or “World War Zed”. And plenty of wits have already pointed out that if they wanted to film the zombie apocalypse they could have saved a lot of money and just filmed Sauchiehall Street on a Friday night.
On the arts review programme on Radio 4 this evening (which was on while we were eating) they reviewed the new film by Cristian Mungiu, Memories of a Golden Age. He’s the director of “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 days”, which was a remarkable film about a Romanian girl trying to get an illegal abortion during the Ceausescu era in Romania. This new film (a comedy) is set around the same time, and got rave reviews on the show, and I really want to see it (we learned it is on at the Glasgow Film Theatre this week, but we didn’t have enough time to get to the cinema in time as it is up in town. Looks like the DVD will be going onto my wish list). But at the very start, the presenter introduced it as a film “set in 1980s Soviet Romania” and I nearly got indigestion huffing and puffing at that (HD had to tell me to shush!). Since when was Romania part of the Soviet Union? (and even though it was part of the eastern bloc, Ceausescu never did get on with the Soviet Union and was much closer to Chinese and North Korean communism – his bulldozing of Bucharest and grand boulevards etc is based on that architectural wonder Pyongyang).
I thought I’d stop needing to blow a gasket every time someone said Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia et al were part of the Soviet Union now I’ve stopped marking my department’s level 1 essays (despite my best efforts it just all went in one ear and out of the other). Bah.
… is making Jack a very dull girl indeed. But, I have finally made a start on contacting my OU tutor group this evening (the course starts this weekend, so I need to practice what I’m preaching to them and get myself into some sort of routine to make the time for it) so that is quite a weight off my mind anyway. My next task is to figure out how to claim my expenses 😀
In other news (and what I really wanted to write about) Chas’s post here from earlier today has got me really thinking. I used to be a voracious reader, but now can only manage small chunks of a chapter or two at a time, and I find I’m the same with films and TV too. Over the weekend we stayed with HD’s parents, and watched the TV with them (we never watch it here, there’s never anything much on so we don’t bother and play on the internet instead). They were watching a programme called “Doc Martin”, which is a gentle slow-paced drama set in a Cornish seaside village. It was all very pleasant and not at all demanding. But when I went to bed (I’m not sleeping brilliantly at the moment, and am having lots of vivid dreams which keep waking me up – not horrible dreams but just really very vivid indeed) I kept waking up, and when I did images from the “Doc Martin” episode we’d just seen were going through my head and were really quite relentless and not relaxing at all. No wonder I don’t watch TV or films much – I’ve noticed this happen quite a lot over the last few years. A couple of years ago when I was in Moldova the woman I was staying with was watching an American TV movie and I happened to be there too so started watching with her. I couldn’t get beyond the first 10 minutes before it stressed me out too much and I had to go to my room, but I still sometimes think about those 10 minutes and can see exactly what happened (it was quite traumatic, not like “Doc Martin”!) all this time later really vividly. I think as I’ve got older I’ve become much more sensitive (sensitised?) to sensory overload. And when I’m reading novels (to take us back to Chas’s post) I see the action in my mind so vividly too that I have to really psych myself up to start reading. No wonder I haven’t finished a book group book in months! Though the next one is one I really really want to read, by one of my favourite authors, so hopefully I will get over it. I’d like to read something some time other than academic books (which don’t have the same effect; they might bore me or even excite and grip me, but they never overload my imagination or senses!) and reclaim my enjoyment.
Yesterday evening I got the chance to go to a free concert by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the Old Fruitmarket. It was free as they were recording for a programme to be broadcast at some point in the future on Radio 3’s Hear and Now. I must admit I did enjoy it – considering I have a music degree I hardly ever go to “classical” concerts, and the music particularly by Louis Andriesson was beautiful.
The main draw though was the second half, where the orchestra was live accompanying a short film (just under half an hour) by Peter Greenaway. I’m not a fan of Greenaway, it’s all far too pretentious and inaccessible for me, but it was kind of interesting I suppose if pseudy nudity is your thing. HD would have loved it (not that he’s particularly into pseudy nudity, but he does like Peter Greenaway) – too bad he was in that other cultural hotspot, Newport, this weekend.
We do actually have some Peter Greenaway DVDs on our wedding list (I didn’t add them!). I have got my revenge though with the pink snowglobe photo frames, which are hilarious!
Tonight they’re having a special showing of the film “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days …” which recently won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This week is the Transylvanian International Film Festival here. I turned up at the box office this afternoon at 1 (I’m 2 hours ahead here, don’t forget!), only to find it had sold out by 12. Gah. I’ll just have to buy the DVD when I get back home.
However, I am very happy about the fact that later on this evening there is a concert in Piata Mica by Fanfara Ciocarlia (I might not have spelt that right by the way). They are one of the two probably best-known-in-the-West Romanian gypsy bands (the other being Taraf de Haidouks, who have done a lot of film soundtracks), and the best thing – the concert’s free! Hooray!
In other news, I thought I had broken my toilet earlier. Fortunately I fiddled about with the cistern and I think I’ve put it back together in the right order. So that’s good. I don’t know what it is about me and toilets. When I was away last year the toilet in the Stately Pile leaked, and ever since then a crucial mechanism has been held in place with a hairband (it’s still going strong!). There is also a little pool of water in my (Romanian) bathroom under the sink that I’m ignoring in the hope that it will go away of its own accord. I don’t know what the Romanian for “plumber” is (though I suspect the “ooh, it’ll cost yer, luv” expression they do with the whole frown and sucked teeth thing is probably universal).