Friday, March 31, 2023
Although I communicate textually in English pretty much every day, all day, and do still tend to think that language, in the six years since I was last in the UK, significant opportunities to speak English, at least with other native speakers, have dried up a bit...and when they do occur — such as in Belize last September — the conversation typically commences for me with a worrying sensation of impending jaw malfunction.
Back in the day Antigua was full of small bookshops selling rather small books, many of which were about its famous fantasmas.
Sunday, March 26, 2023
I went into this knowing that numerous people whose opinions I really care about had absolutely loved it.
And yet I struggled, a little bit.
There are undoubtedly some extraordinary scenes, some gorgeous pieces of dialogue (“I made sure all the hangers in my closet were facing in the same direction”) and then there is Blanchett's performance to admire, but also, somehow even more marvelous, that of cellist Sophie Kauer, who played her own pieces even as she gave depth to a character I could so easily have had more from.
There’s some dark comedy, but somehow not enough.
What's the problemito here exactly? Mark Kermode said "an interesting film that takes itself too seriously" and that knowingness is definitely a starting point, along with the fact that there needed to be more dramatic connection between the events we are shown in series.
There are abundance of audiovisual cliches, not just belonging to the classical music scene but also the arthouse movie genre. Elisions, because we can.
That the director was the bloke in Eyes Wide Shut playing the piano whilst blindfolded is possibly a symbolic suggestion that I will leave readers to ponder.
Some, like conductor Marin Alsop, have objected to the fact that Lydia Tár a woman. I'd tend to agree with Kermode that this is in fact what gives the story its frisson of agreeable contemporary ambiguity, yet I do in the end have a bit of an issue with the fact that she is a lesbian. That part seems ill-chosen. Some of the cancelled classical giants of late (James Levine...) were indeed homosexual, but Domingo and Dutoit are not, and it seems fundamentally obvious why those in positions of power with minority desires, even in the arts, might tend to adopt a more predatory strategy.
Saturday, March 25, 2023
This week Diego Ariel Stella, 'gerente' at the Ni Fu Ni Fa steakhouse in Antigua, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
This was ample vindication of the courage, determination and persistence of his victim and not only also a significant victory for all women of this nation who believe that "No means No!", but also a slap-down for the cabal of public officials, professionals and small business owners in the city who live as if constantly exploring what they can get away with.
Not just rule benders and breakers, but ratas bereft of basic common decency most of the time.
It goes without saying that anyone who participated in the smear campaign against Verónica Molina should be ashamed of themselves for the rest of their days on this earth.
No matter how much one might desire to support or show basic loyalty to a friend or family member, in cases involving rape or other types of sexual aggression, any kind of victim shaming and/or online abuse is the lowest of the low.
Friday, March 24, 2023
Two important lessons one can easily learn from the history books, if one is that way inlined.
1) Beware of governments claiming to have reassured the markets.
2) Sistemic flare-ups like wars, revolutions and banking crises often sport an apparently singular trigger event. Yet these are no more the ‘cause’ of the eruption than Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination caused WWI.
These moments simply make unavoidable something which was already there before, but was being avoided.
“Gradually, then suddenly,“ as Hemingway put it.