By Louise Gluck
Night covers the pond with its wing.
Under the ringed moon I can make out
your face swimming among minnows and the small
echoing stars. In the night air
the surface of the pond is metal.
Within, your eyes are open. They contain
a memory I recognize, as though
we had been children together. Our ponies
grazed on the hill, they were gray
with white markings. Now they graze
with the dead who wait
like children under their granite breastplates,
lucid and helpless:
The hills are far away. They rise up
blacker than childhood.
What do you think of, lying so quietly
by the water? When you look that way I want
to touch you, but do not, seeing
as in another life we were of the same blood.
Another April Fool's Day and as far as I know, no one played a single prank on me (unless the Doctor Who and Torchwood spoilers floating around are a joke, but I suspect that they're real). Well, perkypaduan did send me a link (for younger son) to this YouTube video by Terry Jones about flying penguins. I had lunch at Lebanese Taverna with gblvr and we walked around girl stores and bought perfume and little gifts. Then I went to Best Buy and bought Sweeney Todd. And then I came home and watched it, and it was completely fantastic, including the extras!
Like anyone my age who grew up loving musicals, I have been listening to Sweeney Todd for most of my life, though I first knew its most famous songs ("Not While I'm Around," "Pretty Women") utterly out of context. I really don't like the story much, not because it's gory but because women are alternately transactional objects or utterly devastated by/for love, which I suppose is an improvement on the motivations of most of the men in the story but it still grates on my nerves every time someone starts going on about how beautiful Sweeney's dumb-as-bricks wife was or Johanna cries and waits for a man she doesn't know to rescue her. I can't even root for Mrs. Lovett; I would if she were making her meat pies purely for economic reasons without the delusions of happiness with Sweeney, and I so wish she had been the one to dispatch him in the end!
That said, I grew up listening to the Cariou-Lansbury cast album and was not sure anyone could ever replace those actors for me, even though I adore Depp and Bonham Carter (and it goes without saying how happy I was with the casting of Rickman and Spall). I enjoyed the movie soundtrack but I wasn't sure I'd like the washed-out-plus-bloody look of the film and all the rest. I was completely sold from the first scene with the ship sailing into the Thames and loved pretty much everything -- Sacha Baron Cohen in his ridiculous costume, Spall's oily ickiness (he plays that so well!), and I feel kind of guilty about how homoerotic I found Johnny and Alan singing "Pretty Women" to each other. *g* (Also I am dying to know whether Johnny actually shaved Alan in that scene -- they don't say in the extras!) I'm not crazy about the girl playing Johanna but it's such a thankless role -- I've never really liked anyone playing it, though I've liked singers better than Jayne Wisener. And I liked the pretty pretty boy playing Hope.
Plus I watched all the extras, one of which was better than the next. There's very little Rickman and no Spall in the Tim-Johnny-Helena love-fest that's on the movie disc (the only extra in the single-disc version) but there's quite a bit of Alan talking about his Sondheim-worship and how much he loved the recreated historic Fleet Street sets (plus he gets up out of the chair from the first shaving scene giggling, which makes the two-disc version worth the extra $6). There are terrific extras on the "real" history of Sweeney Todd (consensus: he's a legend, and from 100 years before when the musical is usually set), conditions in 1800s London, the tradition of Grand Guignol and how it relates to Sweeney Todd, the history of the stage musical, and my kids' favorite: how they made people bleed to death! And there's a press conference where Alan says that Turpin is a sweetheart ("I don't chop anyone up and eat them") and Johnny says that while he's shaved people before, he never slept with anyone (whereas Helena admits that she slept with Tim but swears that she did not sleep with Sondheim).
I still have Richmond photos, Philadelphia photos, Mount Vernon photos, National Aquarium photos and more to post, but I love this week so much, where there's new color somewhere every day. Since I'm terrible at growing anything, I had to take a few minutes to enjoy it. And I don't want to turn a tragedy into a meme, where everyone in a certain corner of fandom feels like they have to say something -- I saw some of that when a very big-name slash fan died a couple of years ago, people saying, "I feel like I need to mention ____ because so many other people in fandom did." But I really feel like I owe it to anjenue, who died in a car accident the night before last, to say publicly that although I hardly knew her, she was the person who convinced me to join an RPG when I'd never been involved in one and wasn't sure I'd have anything to contribute. themostepotente had invited me but I felt like because she was my friend, she might be biased in telling me whether I'd be any good at it, and Anj (who was then rosesanguina) encouraged me to take that leap, for which I am enormously grateful. There's a community, we_love_you_anj, for people to leave recollections and messages that her family can read, and if I can do anything to comfort her loved ones, it's the least I can do.