Friday, 3 April 2009

I never sang for my father,

I should be abed and feel sleepy but need to work on for as long as I can because for the second time in a week I have experienced a challenging film with great personal associations about parental relationships I never sang for my father brought an Oscar nomination for Gene Hackman 37 seven years ago. Similar to When did you last see your father it is also the story of a college professor who felt his father never recognised him for his own worth, criticised his choice of occupations and attempted to control his life. In this instance the father played by Melvin Douglas who got the Oscar nomination for best actor in a leading role lacked the fun of the father of Blake Morrison and successfully emotionally blackmailed his children with takes of his hard life, his non relationship with his own father and his need to tie them to him as close as possible and be in control.

His daughter has broken away to lead her own life and was virtually banished as a consequence and when after the death of his wife and he first stages of memory loss his son tries reconciliation and offers to have him near to where he is about to make a new life with a ready made family after he has overcome widowhood , his father not just declines but turns on him, for the first time the son fights back and leave the man to stew in juices of his own making. Although they do meet back ay his home and at his father's house the relationship never takes off as it appeared to do at one brief moment after the death of the mother and all the son can do is look back at what could and should have been, just as Blake Morrison does at the end of the film based on his autobiography. I was again struck how lucky I have been to experience those last three years with my mother.

The film also provides an alarming portrait of what life in nursing homes was like in the USA four decades ago. These were not public care facilities but private fee paying warehouse of the sick and disabled. There was also a great scene at he Undertakers which American appear to acquiesce their guilt on failed relationships with the living.

There were similar coffins on show in the latest episode of The Sopranos. The young relation of the hero dies in an auto crash where the hero is injured. There is a great lying in wake with seats like a movie theatre and which hordes parade their grief and say how much they loved and admired a young man without any redeeming feature. He was scum of the worst kind, H enjoyed violent killings, he traded in drugs and all forms of crime for money, he beat up his sex partners and generally behaved in such a way that in a moment of weakness I could applaud the use of the death of the death penalty or summary execution in the vilest of ways. The hero his wife and family do not stay long because they have to attend another similar event although here the seats are vacant and the majority of 500 printed prayer cards are uncalculated, The relative complains of the lack of respect and no doubt contemplates his revenge. These are he kind of monster people the good democratic capitalist west has been creating in their thousands in Russia and now China. I hate myself but I enjoyed the programme

I decided not to moan about the fact that my nearest post box was full to brim with uncollected post because of industrial action and with a tale in the local paper of one box being set on fire with the content destroyed not reassuring.

While I struggled to do the work which remains in this posting box, although I took today's/yesterday completions to the main box in town and which sounded as if it has just been cleared, I listened and occasionally watched the same version of Carmen twice. This was an excitingly staged version with attractive singers who oozed sexuality and where I could imagine good men losing all to the charms of this temptress. There are two live version locally, one I may have missed at he Sunderland Empire looks a tradition gypsy version while Car Man suggests a modern day industrial version is on at the Newcastle Theatre Royal soon. As previously mentioned I have a full score on two Cds and Carmen Jones on vinyl, and three versions on tape of a shortened free version each with a different Carmen. It was the first Opera I experienced, taken by my mother and her two sisters, and I have loved it ever since although never understood why it is always sung in French and not Spanish, such is life.

I have also watched several times a Flamenco performance on the Sat Chan Living in Spain .This is the real stuff not that produced for visitors on the costas. I nearly went to a show at the Sage only days ago but it was the wrong time and my mood was not for it. It is the kind of Sat Chan where the same shows are repeated and repeated. I have watched one about an Englishman living in Spain making the traditional guitar several times and this spurned me to listen to my Segovia records. I also have one of flamenco. Oh if were younger and had the dosh to take everything there and come back when inclined to do so, what would I give for Spanish sun, but then there is Greece and Italia, Southern France, Oh how I would luv to do that. I will settle for Vincent Don Mclean tomorrow, he I will not miss. I enjoyed listening to John Denver twice on Mainstreet or Performance earlier. He is going to China next year after making it in Russia. He came across as a nice man, just as his songs appeal to innocence goodness and beautiful and tenderness. I have a new addiction my computer virtual reality chess game where the aim has come to win 101 consecutive games without defeat or a draw. First task is level one where after seventeen I drew and then had a bad run, but now have reached 20 and will do a couple more to wind down before bed

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