I'll try to be brief today. I can be brief, sometimes. I swear.
Here's the stuff that's occupying my spare time this week when I'm not earning a paycheck:
Currently Reading: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy--Sharply observed drama of the title character, a commoner with a hunger for knowledge who trudges off to the big city in Victorian-era England to acquire an advanced education only to be beaten down by the iron-gloved fist of the British class system. Like many novels of the era it takes awhile to get up to steam, and Hardy's well-educated narration flirts with condescension at times. But it's an invaluable window into another time and a subtly powerful indictment of English social strictures. Jude's no-win infatuation with his cousin Sally rings with aching universality here, too.
Currently Watching: Masque of the Red Death (1964)--All of Director Roger Corman's 60's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations (available on MGM/UA DVD) are worthwhile, but this one is the closest thing to a work of art as ever arose from this B movie icon's efforts. A horrific plague ravages a medieval village, while several members of the ruling class decay (physically and morally) in the supposedly safe confines of Prince Prospero's (Vincent Price's) castle. Future director Nicholas Roeg's vivid cinematography serves up absolutely ravishing decadence, and Price gives a performance of subtly silky evil here.
Currently Listening to: The Best Little Secrets are Kept, Louis XIV: My articulate, politically correct mind rolls it's metaphoric eyes at the pantingly libidinous lyrics (they'd get a stamp of approval from the most potty-mouthed rapper) and the '70's-sleazy CD cover. Then the succulent glam riffs start thundering, the impossibly hooky sing-along choruses dig in, and the over-the-top naughty-schoolboy humor polevaults over my political correctness. Finally, my fanny starts involuntarily shaking like Mark Bolan and Mick Jagger are pogoing inside, and I'm utterly, completely, pathologically hooked on this gutter-glam goofiness. Seriously, guiltily irresistible stuff, as intentionally funny as Spinal Tap and way, way harder-rocking.