Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vampire Romances, UK Camp Music and some other Darkness

I accidentally passed an important milestone in a girl’s life: reading your first romance (excluding lesbian romances, Bronte’s and pre-Edwardian romances). At the library I picked up what I thought was an interesting how-to book, A Girl’s Guide to Vampires. It sounded practical and the back cover had useful tips like “No matter how attractive the dark man in the corner, don’t just accidentally give yourself a paper cut and ask him to kiss it better.” Instead of a how-to’s on garlic earrings it turns out book is a romance about a skeptical female with her goth obsessed friend who is dragged to a GothFaire in Europe; a place filled with sad posers and hunky guys. I kept reading because having a goth friend earnestly explain to a guy wanting to be your potential boyfriend the six steps to bonding eternally in love with a vampire according to her favorite author is actually something I have experienced. The whole goth, vampire obsession is done very tongue in cheek, indeed, the whole book was humorous, including the “sexy” parts about her new boyfriend being hung VERY large and sex blowing out the end of the condoms. Okay, maybe that supposed to be romantic or sexy, but it totally had me in stitches (I can never tell what supposed to be sexually serious with you wacky heteros).

And moving two steps to the left, a walk down Youtube’s memory lane reminded me that regardless of the UK’s homophobic population, as a country they do seem to produce and embrace music so camp it staggers the brain (normal straight people avidly go to see ABBA imitators!). The Christmas #1 Song is THE closely watched event of November to January. As the countdown gets closer, each song in the top 3 or 4 has its own fans and adamant supporters. In 2005, a group called The Darkness simply walked away with a title called “Christmas Time: Don’t let the Bells End” in a song which made the group Queen look like conservative Christians. We have four guys half naked and dressed in OTT fur vests seen only on Ely girls made neuvo-rich.After hitting falsettos you have to hear to believe, and rollicking in the snow in outfits stolen from Britney Spear’s wardrobe, they end with the lead singer surrounded by children, who he still manages to sing TWO OCTAVES higher. I’ve probably watched over 50 times: from jaw dropping amazement, to wonder, to “what the…”, to my daily dose of camp. (if you like that try his I Believe in a Thing Called Love where he starts naked, before dancing in a jumpsuit zipped open to…well, yes; with statues of lesbians making love in the background – which won UK best new musical artist).

Probably the most challenging film I watched this year was Fateless (trailer here), written by the author of memoirs of a Hungarian Jew, shuttled amongst several concentration camps as a teen during WWII. The film expresses his view that time is a prison, one which is lived through every second, but also that there the camps held not just terror and despair but also anticipation, joy, routine, and longing. Returning home, the lead character finds no one wants to hear that about the camps; they ask; “You were beaten?”, he says, “Of course” but then they turn away, not wanting to hear about how he stops in the street at 5 pm, the best part of the day in the camps, remembering everyone coming together; his obsession with carrot soup, in short the complexities of life in every circumstance. His book was published in the 70’s but only determined to be acceptable for public viewing a few years ago. I really do recommend it for anyone who like myself started groaning during Schindler’s List (the author of Fateless on the DVD interview has quite a few things to say about that film), or anyone who wants to challenge themselves to tell the whole truth about their experiences, no matter how unacceptable that is (count me in as someone who wants to, even if they haven’t the courage yet).

I have also been watching the Latin American TV psychological thriller series Epitafio, produced by HBO. The closest I can describe it is a 13 part series of the film Seven, but without any of the daylight, resolution or optimism. The series starts five years after a botched hostage rescue, with one of the pair of police involved, Renzo, is burned out living day to day as a taxi driver. Called to an empty house, they find a dismembered body and things quickly degenerate as the killer maneuvers our hero, Renzo in a bizarre punishment where everyone in any way connected to that day, is killed, with Renzo chasing on, determined to stop him, and the killer just as determined to make it through his list to finish with Renzo’s death. If you wished they made a TV series out of Silence of the Lambs, then I recommend picking this up.


belledame222 said...

Wow, "Fateless" sounds amazing.

yeh, Great Britain, home of Shakespeare and the Panto Dame and "the English Vice." and the Bloomsbury crowd, and lots and lots of horsey ladies...not so straight at heart, i don't think, really.

>because having a goth friend earnestly explain to a guy wanting to be your potential boyfriend the six steps to bonding eternally in love with a vampire according to her favorite author is actually something I have experienced.>


i once found this awesome site which was basically a kind of twelve-step for recovering vampires. sadly no idea where it went or if it still exists. but it was all like, now is not the time to become a vegetarian. eat meat--but that means COOKED meat. and no matter how strong the urge to bite, DO NOT BITE PEOPLE. try eating chocolate bars or vegemite on toast. if that doesn't suffice, try biting down on a piece of wood. never did figure out how serious they were. friends suspected it was a Pratchett like attempt at taking the piss. either way: GENIUS. oh, i hope i can find it again...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Yes, I think there is a lot of self-humour that goth/vampire crowd seem to miss - I mean if you are going to dress up and act like you've been around for hundreds of years, don't you think vamps would have a sense of humour by this point (between being pouty and having sex of course).