Sunday, 17 February 2013

Day 4: A Love Letter to Romance and Comedy

   This is not a post about about the optimism I have for couples. This is not a post about the fake weird things people get as termed romantic like flowers (which always reminds me of a line in a Trisha Ashley book about rose petals that the heroine saw as dismembered flowers), or chocolates, or teddy bears, which always struck me as treating you like a literal child.

   Now if someone got me a signed copy of Jennifer Crusie book, or got me a poster of Virginia Woolf, or a book of Dorothy Parker poetry that shows me that they know me, and have thought about what I like. That is true romance to me, and truly thoughtful.

    This is a post about the romantic film/book and the comedy. I have not said the romantic comedy as some of the films/books I am going to list I don't think are classed as that but they have great elements of each, and some are straight up romantic comedies.

   I think the romance in particular the one with an ending that does not end up with anyone dead or forgotten, gets a lot of flak. This is not helped by the plethora of complete nonsense that seems to pass for the romantic comedy. I am looking at you The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter or The Back Up Plan (the only thing that I liked about that was Melisa McCarthy, well she is great so at least she had some work I guess).

    I have no idea what that picture says, but I like the way it looks :)

   I am one of those people that will watch one however bad it is. And if you can get to me by character then it is a film well done. So here are my happy films that are comedic with romances. This is the order that I would watch them marathon style.

   Moonstruck. I don't know how to praise this film without sounding like a complete suck up but I am going to do my best. I love everything about this film. One of my favourite lines is 'a wolf without a foot!' the dialogue is magical. I think it is perfectly cast. This is one of my all time favourites and would watch it over and over. This is really about two people who really fall in love believably and it is really funny. This is super hard to get right and it is pitch perfect.

   While You Were Sleeping. I do really like this film, it does have some problems but this for me is about character. It also for me has an interesting take on what romance is, and what is termed real in this film. This is a film that is not mean, not even really about Peter. What makes this a film that I watch over and over is the character work in this film. I love it.

   A Fish Called Wanda. This is my all time favourite farces of all time. I love Kevin Kline in this. I like that John Cleese at the end has no idea what to do. There is something about how the heroine runs rings around all the people in this film. There is an underlying spike in this film, but it does it really well, and I laugh out loud every time I watch it. 

   The 39 Steps (the Hitchcock version). I don't think this is a romantic comedy at all but it falls under a romantic elements. This is really a film about trying to find out what the 39 steps are, and solving a murder. I would say I do really love the suspense but also the underlying comedy in this film. Tone is a very hard thing to pull of and this does it very well. Again character is the thing that makes this film good to me.

   The Lady Vanishes (the Hitchcock version). Again this isn't really a romantic comedy, but as in the other film this bands together two people to find out what the mystery is. I like the heroine very much and she is the main protagonist in this unlike The 39 Steps where that is the hero's story through and through, she is really good.

   The Family Stone. I do like this film very much. This is definitely a romantic comedy. I really love Diane Keaton in this. She is at times unlikable, but that adds to the end. I like Luke Wilson very much, this is a film that is really a big cast of people all in this house for Christmas. This makes me want to live in that house, but I also really like how this film makes the characters change. It makes me smile.

   Amelie. I wanted to include something that really plays with how film works. I really liked the title sequence. This is a film that plays with time and how people connect. I am not sure whether the two people at the end are what the film is really about, but I like the journey in this. I also love the main character in this. A beautiful romance that makes a lot of jokes.

     I wanted to include a couple of honorable mentions, The Proposal (I know the ending has issues, and there are a lot of things that could have been fixed), but for me the two people in Margaret and Andrew make that film, it is a film I do watch but I don't go back to it as often. Penelope, I like a lot, and definitely for me a romantic comedy, and looks really good. I am not sure about some things about that film but it is good. Desperately Seeking Susan, my all time favourite film from the eighties. I love it a lot. This is not a romantic comedy, the plot does revolve around couples but I think the strongest theme is not love but identity and finding out who you are, with love thrown in. The last image of that film is of the two women together, and that is what ties it together for me. Really well done though in the romantic interests though, and how the light looks.

   So my next list and stick with me is of the books that I love and again this is the order that I would read them marathon style. 

   Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. I know big surprise right, but I love, love, love this book. I re-read this every Christmas. It just makes me the happiest I can be. I in fact own two copies of this as my first one is coming apart. There is something about this that won't let me go. Jennifer Crusie I will always love your voice, and this book just hit me full force.

   Agnes and the Hitman, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. This is a book I went through a phase of re-reading for a full two weeks. I even in that time stayed up till 3 in the morning to read it to the end, in that time. I can't say how much I love this book, I fell in love with the protagonists from the start. It is one of my favourites, beautiful all the way through.

   Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde. This is my favourite of Katie Fforde. I do think that she has faults, but of my UK authors that I re-read she is my favourite. There is something about this book that I connected to from the start, I think it is because of the voice and tine. I think this is Polly's book from start to finish, and it is a book that really deals with money and class. This is her first book and by far the one I return to most.

   Singled Out by Trisha Ashley. This is the book that I return to most in Trisha Ashley's work (though I would mention Every Women for Herself, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Good Husband Material as books that I really loved from her), she really goes to the dark side in this. She is always someone whose work makes me laugh and I really responded to how well she does the tone. This is also a book that I really liked the hero in.

   Inner harbour/Holding the Dream/Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts. I know it's a cheat but I have so much of her work that I can't pick just one. Carolina Moon for it's couple and the connection, also my favourite side character has to be Uncle Jimmy, I love his humour and bigness. Holding the Dream for Kate. I love her and the way she builds after her world crumbles, so good. My favourite side characters I think her aunt and uncle, and how her relationships change as she does. Inner Harbour for Phillip and the way Sybil affects him. I liked how good they were together framed by their changing relationship to Seth.

   The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. This is one of my favourite historical romances. I really like Anna Wren and that the relationship of real trust begins between these two people starts early. I also thought that the sexual part of the connection between the hero and heroine is really done well.

   Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas. Another favourite of my historical romances. This is a book that I loved the hero. This is Leo's book, and it made me laugh. This is another book where the trust between the two people is fragile but really is folded within the book (I love Mine until Midnight as well).

   Tainted Love by Alison Fraser. This is my favourite Mills and Boon, this is something I read all the time. I love Clare, she is a very well rounded and I loved how the family is shown in this romance. There is something dark about this book that i thought was really well done, but at the end it is a book about hope, and how scary it is to trust that you can hope. A great book, with a great relationship at the heart of it.

   So my love of the romantic and the comedic will carry on. There are amazing stories out there and beautifully done. It is a genre that I hugely respect. So I love it, and will love it forever more.





   OK hear me out. When I swim I would not be without my goggles, even when swimming breast stroke I can't see that well without my glasses anyway but it is by far the thing that makes it convenient for me to swim.

   I have not been swimming since the new year, and I do miss it, and the goggles help me to do something that is really relaxing and cool.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Day 3: A Love letter to Radio

   I have been a big fan of the radio, in particular the BBC as I can listen to a programme again on the Internet. I nearly called this a love letter to BBC radio 2, but I do listen to other stuff, I like BBC radio 4 for a lot of the stuff they do and I like a lot of the music they put on BBC radio 6. There is a good quality of stuff on it, and it's a resource I think people tend not to praise.

   A lot of comedy started off in radio, fresh stuff including That Mitchell and Webb Sound, but there are a lot of older stuff that it is really cool to find again, I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue, Round the Horne and The News Quiz. All but one still on, but listening to older stuff is enlightening.

   So radio, it is amazing forum. as it really guides your imagination and some of the music that I have listened to on it has really been inspirational. So I think the humble radio deserves a love letter to it. That picture makes me happy.


   I am a big fan of lists. I am also a big fan of notebooks to put lists in. I also like my diary, which is an academic diary. I have always had an academic one, to put in all my things to remember in. September always seems the new year to me rather than January really because of my academic diary habit.

   So I am making lists my recommendation, I love them in a way. It makes me look a lot more organised that I am really.

   Lists, they are the new thing in!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Day 2: A Love Letter to Onions

   So the humble onion, I like the onion very much. It does not seem to get much praise, in cooking recipes it seems to me more unfamiliar things get noticed, perhaps because the onion isn't much of a flavour by itself but would be very much missed in most of the sauces that I make in particular tomato based sauces.

   I have never met an onion that I didn't like. I actually think that I like red onions for their sweeter taste. In the coleslaw that I fell in love with as a child the red onion was essential to the flavour of the stuff. Of course it helped immensely that it was not covered in mayonnaise, but in a lemon, herb and oily mixture that was like nectar to me.

   The onion is also used in one of my favourite love poems by Carol Ann Duffy that contains the beautiful line ' a moon wrapped in brown paper.' A gorgeous analogy to me.

   Onions do have this association of making people cry and leaving a faint smell on your hands. The crying things only really happens when the onion is old, and the smell isn't very harsh it lingers true but it isn't unpleasant.

   I think the onion should get the recognition that it deserves for being the base to many things in cooking, and the it's steady supply. Often over looked the onion, but I love it.

Knitted Hats

   I like hats in general and knitted ones especially they look pretty cool. It also seems the thing in winter to have.

   That is a pretty cool hat. It makes me wish I could properly make knitted hats.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Day 1: A Love Letter to Public Transport

   So my first letter is to public transport. Something much maligned to my opinion. Yes it is sometimes unreliable, yes it owned by private companies, yes the system of booking transport is really annoying. Yes it is all those things, but above all it is there.

   Think about it, if the buses and trains didn't exist we would all be in a bigger state of badness than we are in now. For all the jokes about trains not running because of leaves being different leaves, the trains are mostly in my experience reliable, and I live six miles away from town, it is a good thing that there is a train that gets me where I need to go, ditto the buses.

   I sometimes like being on a bus or a train, it gives me time to read, daydream or sleep away the journey. My point though is that I have used public transport all my life, I am now old enough to drive but between you and me I have taken my driving test four times and I really think without passing it's God's way of saying take the bus.

   I think mostly though I am thankful for it, the only time I had a major problem with it though was when I had to get back and it was snowing (a good 3-4 inches on the ground). But that situation was resolved by me getting the train back (the last one getting back as it happened) and I did get back without getting a taxi in treacherous condition for six miles all be it well past midnight, but I got home.

   Public transport, much like the NHS gets a hell of a lot of flack, but both deserve love, and for all their faults it would be a much more difficult nigh impossible world at least for me to be in.

   So I take my hat off to all the bus drivers and train drivers doing something that they rarely get praise for. I also want to mention all the people who work in bus stations and train stations, my thanks to you for mostly being nice, and also getting everyone to where they wanted to go. And personally this is a love letter to the fact that anyone can use this transport, and that is what I like the most, in a way the transport system doesn't are who you are in order to use it. You do have to pay to use it but for me at least I use it so often I have gotten used to it.

   So public transport, I have nothing but good things to say in your praise. Let it live on.


The Beginning

   I have been really absent lately, not really through being busy, more because I have been quite lazy, so I am going to do a week of posts, of love letters as it is Valentine's Day coming up (I am not going to actually post on Valentine's Day, I am going to leave that to the lovers and the anti-lovers). To me though there are many things to love and a lot of them do not get the recognition that they deserve.

   I also want to do a book club again, I have left it really late to pick one for February, so have decided that I want to read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and will post up stuff about it on the last Friday in March which is the 29th. Any who wish to join are all welcome.

   So here we go: a week of love letters!