Seen: Only Lovers Left Alive, by Jim Jarmusch

This film could had been either a tacky camp over-sweet pastry stuffed with purple prose… or it could be what it really is – a dark beautiful tapestry with pieces of wry humour hidden between the threads.

Eve and Adam has known each other for a long, long, time. One white, celebrating life and its expressions. One black, deeply romantic but also despairing of life and of where humanity has gotten itself. One in a melting pot city, a city of the in-between and of both. One in the ruins of crashed expectations. And both, intertwined.

Sounds pretty pretentious, doesn’t it? And still – it isn’t.

Tilda Swinton‘s character, Eve, lives in the old parts of Tangier, in an old house filled with books. She’s best friends and neighbour with Christopher Marlowe, portrayed by John Hurt.

Eve’s husband, Adam (Tom Hiddleston), lives a reclusive life on the outskirts of Detroit, collecting vintage guitars and making music using as analogue equipment as possible. He’s a romantic but also an engineer and scientist at heart, and he’s also bitter and dissatisfied with humankind.

During a Skype call Eve realises that Adam is depressed and she instantly gets on a (night) flight for the States, carrying the essentials only – two suitcases of books…

There’s absolutely not an ounce of action: only the quiet angst and passions of the aged and eternal youth – they are vampires, after all – and a silent discussion of what makes life worth living; yet the film keeps the audience focused on the screen.

And I loved it.

I loved it for its play with archetypes; for its use of, references to, and off-handed comments in areas such as music, literature and science; for the photography, for the way the camera makes love with the spaces these creatures are passing through; for the dual feeling of being very grounded yet transient; for the debauchery and the despair; for the raw animalism and the intellectual flippancy; for the hope and love and beauty; for the way it managed to capture the duality and challenge of being, and of being honest with oneself and one’s ideals. And of course I loved it for its humour.

Jim Jarmusch has pulled of one mean feat – a vampire film that brings back the vampire were it belongs: to the outsiders, the poets, the rebels.

Go see it.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m off watching the fire flicker in the grate while swaying solemnly to the slow beat of Pink Floyd‘s Wish you were here.

Considering: Nostalgia. A rant.

An unsound preoccupation with what has been, numbing today by reliving the past.

Just like everybody else I now and then smile at a memory – things done and experienced; places; music; faces. Those are short moments, though, because I live here and now and as here and now is the only place in which I actually am here is where I spend my energy. Possibly I spend energy on the future as well, on the principle that the future is now, making now liveable.

However, this doesn’t make it possible to successfully evade other peoples’ nostalgia.

People spending an evening reminiscing on their youth. People who go to nostalgia concerts, listening to old heroes regurgitating old hits, meeting people they don’t socialise with anymore, to get a waft of the “good old times”.

True, sometimes this “don’t socialise with anymore” is due to hard facts of life, of living in different areas and having schedules that doesn’t match without applying a jack-hammer. But when conversation is down to “do you remember when…” I feel like I’m being walled in; roofed over; chained to the bottom of the sea.

What irks me even more is when people who spent their youths raging against nostalgia recline against their memories, like a soft pillow, without even reflecting over how they now do what they rallied against; once money started to roll in they got corrupted; still praying to the same gods, out of convenience? Talking the talk without walking the walk.

I get a heart attack only writing about it, I tell you.

Get laid, get paid, owe your life to the bank, push “pause”. Eternally frozen image. Futureless and hence hopeless. Stuck. Digging up corpses, hoping to find some of the essence that once made life interesting. And then wonder why I don’t attend all those nostalgia events, thinking I’m the one who is anti-social?!?!

Excuse me, don’t spend energy trying to convert me to your belief.

I have a life to live.

Scrubbing plasma exhaust manifolds

Sometimes you’re tasked with things that just isn’t any fun. And if they’re not only not fun but outright boring, and entirely repetitive… then you’re stuck with scrubbing plasma exhaust manifolds. With a toothbrush.

The reference might sail past those who haven’t watched any Star Trek. A colleague asked me about the phrase – I had used it on Facebook, as part of a status line – and when I started the explanation with the word “spaceship” she kind of glazed over ;-)

But sometimes that’s just what I do. I have a great job. I have great family. I love to do what I’m doing, I have great colleagues… but even out there at the frontiers of unknown space some things just has to get done, or you’re fried. So. Sometimes scrubbing plasma exhaust manifolds is what I have to do.

These past weeks have had a lot of that. It steals time and energy from socialising, from doing stuff I like. But I tell myself if those manifolds hadn’t got scrubbed perhaps there wouldn’t be any time at all for doing those things. Because if the spaceship explodes, no one can hear you scream.

*sigh*

Chores. Don’t you just LOVE doing them ;-)
Transporting them somewhere else somehow makes it easier.

Life

Consider life.

What is it?

The questions are as plentiful as the answers. But ultimately life is what you do with it.

Thinking about how many people actively chose not to live at all but to long for times past or roads not taken the question accurately ought to be What’s NOT life. Maybe.

What prompted this chain of thought, you might ask.

This weekend I discovered I was looking back on some past experiences thinking ‘I could never be like that again’ – meeting new cities, new situations, taking everything in, revelling in the novelties.

With experience comes the ability to see patterns, to foresee, to expect certain things. The blank slate can never be blank again, once it’ve been written upon.

I decided I could only learn from this. That trying to relive the past is to not live today. I’m sure there are still experiences to be made out there. I’m here to make them, to welcome them. To learn new things.

If I shall truly be able to say I have no regrets nostalgia is to be avoided. Life is now!

Even when lethargy sets in.