Sunday, December 11, 2005

Books and DVDs

I’ve just completed reading Days Like These: Scenes from an ordinary life by Rebecca Tyrrel. The book is a collection of Tyrrel’s writings from a column of the same name that have appeared in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine since early 1998. Her column is a portrait of a fictionalized life of an ordinary West London household: the author Tyrrel, her husband Matthew a journalist for the Guardian newspaper and their son Louis. At first I thought, uh oh, this is very light and uninteresting but I persisted as I soon found her writing very funny, particularly her portrayal of her husband Matthew. Tyrrel has a wonderfully deadpan wit and she uses it to great affect in her descriptions of her everyday life. She made me laugh, which is important as I don’t have the opportunity to experience much humour living in Timor.

I’m about to commence reading Kate Jennings’ Moral Hazard a book I first heard read on the ABC’s Radio National while working out at the Melbourne Uni gym.

I’ve managed to keep up reading a book a fortnight for the past six months but in anticipation of running out of quality material (and in light of the fact that I haven’t been entirely happy with all 12 books I have read to date of which mainly were found at the book exchange at the Xanana Reading Room) I recently placed an order with my Aunt in Melbourne. This week I should receive three quality publications: Thunder from the Silent Zone Rethinking China by Dr Paul Monk, The End of Poverty by Dr Jeffrey Sachs and Motherhood by Anne Manne. They should keep me busy until at least the end of February.

I’ve been remiss in not sharing what DVDs we have been watching of late so here’s a comprehensive rundown.

Much to our regret, we finished watching season 2 of the L Word but eagerly wait for season 3 to hit the shelves of the DVD store next year. We completed watching volume 3 of Doctor Who and eagerly await the fourth and final volume which should arrive in this week’s mail along with the three aforementioned books. The last film we watched was the Japanese animated film Princess Mononoke by the same director as Spirited Away. I actually preferred the former with its morality tale of man’s destruction of the environment and the animals that dwell in it. I highly commend this film to you. The wonderful Spanish film The Sea Inside was very moving and I also commend it, particularly if you are interested in the ethical debates around euthanasia.

The Argentinean film The Holy Girl was a tad slow but it was an okay film. The French and French Canadian co-produced film La Petite Lili based on Chekov’s play The Seagull was quite good with again, sumptuous scenery which made me want to jump on the next available flight to Canada. Two American HBO films for television: the touching and stellar cast filled Lackawanna Blues and Winter Solstice with Aussie Anthony LaPaglia was quite an enjoyable little film. An American film of an ensemble cast telling ten stories with intertwining characters Happy Endings was pleasurable. The American indy film Me and You and Everyone We Know was quirky. The Canadian gay film Sugar was different. The British film The Girl in the Café was far-fetched and by the same director as Love Actually, which I loathed. I don’t know what’s happened to the director Richard Curtis; he once co-wrote Black Adder (which we are also watching; rationed to one episode a week) but his films of recent times are just romantic drivel.

What we’re really in need of is quality British television dramas and comedies but we just can’t get them in Timor. Instead, we have to pay a small fortune for the real thing to be purchased in Australia and then posted to us (along with Doctor Who, we’ll receive season 2 of Spooks to add to season 3 which was sent to us previously but which has been put on hold until we watch season 2). I’ve been longing to see again the absolutely hilarious Little Britain and the very wicked Nighty Night. How I miss television!

“Our family” has on at least two separate occasions ( we think it was Senyor the first time and Senyora the other), looked through our expanding DVD collection and then placed them back on the shelf and in the cupboard the wrong way round (they wouldn’t make very good spies!) It’s a bit disconcerting really because of the way that the distributors of these pirated DVDs reconfigure the front covers: they do their utmost to make you believe that the contents are full of sex which may or may not be the case. As Daniel and I aren’t into porno, we have found this practice a little amusing but now that we know that “our family” are looking at our collection, I have started to fret that they think that we’re dirty little “malae”. I feel I need to have a word to them about the practice of changing the front covers of DVDs as I’m sure they have no idea. (I need to defend myself: my reputation is at stake!) However, I cannot figure out the appropriate Tetun words and anyway, don’t wish to embarrass them. The things I have to worry about living in Timor.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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