Sunday, 23 January 2011

I'd Like to Report That I Have Nothing to Report


I haven’t taken any photos to go along with this post because I really haven’t been anywhere in the past few days. I did go with my course mate Thea and her partner David to Cinema City in Norwich, a beautiful old restored building near the cathedral. This is a particularly nice area in Norwich, untouched by modern architecture. The theatre has a bar and restaurant where you can not only have a drink and something to eat before the show, you can actually take your glass of wine or beer into the theatre with you. So very civilized. And they’re beautiful stemmed glasses, not plastic cups. Once inside, you sit in plush roomy theatre seats that all command a good view of the screen. It’s the most elegant movie theatre I’ve ever seen.

We had come to the screening of The King’s Speech, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Colin Firth is not only intelligent and gorgeous to look at, his portrayal of King George VI with his speech impediment is flawless. It was also very moving to see 1938 footage of the period just before war is declared against Germany – masses of German soldiers goosestepping, and Hitler screaming insanely and rallying his people. There was also a very convincing scene where Firth comes out onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the thousands assembled on the grounds of the palace. Old film footage was used for the cheering crowds, everyone inspired by the king’s radio speech, relieved that he had pulled it off. I felt emotional looking around at the audience as they watched the screen, realizing that some of the older people could actually remember these scenes from childhood. It’s a great movie and has already won a number of awards.

So that’s pretty much all I’ve done besides reading Thomas de Quincy’s The Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and putting together my presentation for Monday. I have to say something intelligent about the book and how it fits into the genre of autobiography. Like St. Augustine, it’s a self-incriminating invocation except that de Quincy is telling his readers about the joys and the horrors of eating opium. In those days, mid 1800s, they used to feed it to babies, so putting it in that context makes his addiction to the drug seem less scandalous. You could buy it freely at the corner druggist. What’s fascinating are his descriptions of the effects opium had on his dream world. I enjoyed reading this one (St. Augustine not) and feel pretty confident that I can hold my audience on Monday.

Looking out at the gray sky makes me yearn for spring. When the weather improves, I’m going to take my bike on the train and go up to the coast. There are lots of cycle paths along the sea, offering a great opportunity to take some photos – adding a nice touch to a blog.

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