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After The Eclipse

At the maximum of the partial eclipse last Friday I was sitting with my cats, congratulating them on their calm demeanour. I have always believed eclipses to be completely harmless, but the confirmation was reassuring. Not that the show amounted to anything more than a mild darkening of a morning of heavy grey cloud (we never get the fancy stuff, no Northern Lights for us). But if there was a profound effect on this world below, I think we'd have felt it anyway, along with the lucky viewers. Sure enough the Spring of 2015 has continued as before: dull, dry and cold, with ominous bursts of electioneering. I'm less and less interested in these Hogarthian, Eighteenth Century hustings; though of course I intend to vote.

And to doorstep and leaflet for the Green Party candidate for Brighton Pavilion, for the rest of the duration; now that I've cleared my desk. We have our Vote Green and Re-Elect Caroline Lucas posters up in the window, along with our Gabriel Jones and Marianne Wright poster. (I've been imploring him to get a new headshot for years, he finally managed it: a snapshot by Marianne's boyfriend, and it doesn't look half bad, in my opinion. Should last him a decade or so.


The Antigone, Barbican, on Tuesday evening. Prepared by negative reviews to be disappointed, on the contrary this production is excellent. Brilliant staging, the parched plain and the palace interior deftly conveyed with minimum fuss. Great idea to have the principal characters (except Kreon) become voices in the Chorus when they're not otherwise occupied. I'd read about Juliette Binoche, my very favourite screen actress, being a bit of a disaster, a ranting hysteric. Actually nothing like as bad as Kristen Scott-Thomas's useless Elektra at the Old Vic, but it's true Binoche is the weak link, which is a shame. When the play calls for her get impassioned & she just gets shouty, that's the worst bit. It's always the director's fault. is my mantra, when good actors go bad. It definitely isn't Sophocles's fault, anyway. Or Ann Carson's. But who knows? The rest of the cast seemed fine. They were televising the show on Tuesday (for BBC4, I think) so I'm looking forward to seeing how Binoche's interpretation works in that medium.

Terrible pun at the final curtain.

Strangely, (or ominously, if you believe in omens) several high-end reviewers seemed to have gone away with the idea that Antigone is in the wrong. No, she is not! Kreon is in the wrong, obviously. Antigone is defying a despot's indefensible edict. She's right, and everyone in the play agrees with that view, they just don't want to do the actual defying themselves, because they'll get killed . . . She's right, but she can't control the fallout from her right actions. Kreon is wrong, but gets his terrible come-uppance (this is fiction of course).

Maybe that's what whoever it was meant, by saying "Antigone is the perfect tragedy because both sides of the argument are right". Maybe the even-handedness is in the consequences. Antigone is perfect because both sides are unbearable. The one time our heroine weakens; the only time she panics is when her sister Ismene (previously protected by a timid, law-abiding nature), suddenly decides she wants to be killed by Kreon too, and this is very true to life, even today. Despots destroy the people, no question. But moral intransigence isn't a private sport, either. You draw others along with you, your family, your friends. I see it (so to speak) all the time in Amnesty International cases. You will bring hell down on your loved ones. That's the problem all defiers of despots have to face; now or 2000+ years ago.

Anyway, my advice is get tickets if you can (Edinburgh next) and good luck with that.

But enough of this frivolity. Entertainment is a serious business.

Two series that have passed their tipping point

House Of Cards. I forgive them. It had to happen. I can see how the Kevin Spacey team looked at the UK House of Cards scenario and thought, yes, great, but there's got to be something we can do with the Clintons. . . So far, this is not working for me.

Two killer problems (not even counting the silly Tsar of all the Russias strand, which reels about, proving that the US can't do foreign policy, not even in fiction, because they just don't care).

1) I can't see anybody worth pushing under a train. No decent candidates in sight, and without murder at home, where's our entertaining monster? He's become boring.

2) Robin Wright did a fantastic turn as Lady Macbeth, but is floundering as the First Lady who plans to ride to the Oval Office on her husband's name. Needs to have the hubris to believe she could be a President who make a difference (depsite everything she knows). If she just wants a nice office and a big long motorcade she's a carbon copy of her husband. Fair comment, but a bit too subtle to be fun to watch. And that hairdo looks like a comb-over.

The Mentalist Series Seven. So, the infantile hero of his own life has finally killed his father (Manelli, remember?) and married his mother! End here, it sounds hopeful. No mileage left in the "psychic" tricks, nothing to replace them. No chemistry between Baker and Tunney. Barely any physical contact, even, and why would there be? Classic Independent But Caring Woman CopTeresa Lisbon, forced to dress in simpering little girl blouses now she's been demoted from Mom to Girlfriend, must be regretting this . . . It's going to end in tears.

And Finally . . .

Setting my affairs in order #n. Sent off the third of three stories completed since last September. Amazing work rate for me, considering everything else; as a story takes me as long as a novel takes some people, and finally updated my travelogue page, from 2013 to 2015. Which leaves only my Hoglog, and the Aliens In The 21st Century paper to revise and publish, and my work is done. I'll have returned to the present.

& that's all til after Easter, folks.
& soon I will be eating meat and fish again! Hurray!
But not often.