Saturday, 20 December 2008

Welcome to Canada

Land of snow, sledding, silly hats and scarves, pretty people, cheap restaurants and crafts. I've been home for the last three/four days but it feels a lot longer. Catching up with friends, shopping for poetry, decorating bad Christmas decorations, sledding in snowsuits, walking through a blizzard, eating more sushi than I thought possible... The days have been full, and wonderful. Last night, walking home through 20 cm of snow from Bay and Bloor, I was amazed by how surreal the whole thing felt. I haven't been back for a winter in 4 years, and while one part of me thinks there could not be anything more natural in the world than navigating my way through a thick layer of white powder and a bottom layer of ice, the more recent part of me thinks the entire experience should be relegated to sci fi or the delusional fantasies of a coke head. But there could be nothing more fun than being in a place that is easy - easy friends, easy food, easy life. When we got to the bottom of the hill I lay back, looked up in the sky, and I could barely believe how good it felt to relax on a bed of comfy ice. It might have just been in contrast to walking back up the hill.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

What's really going on in Greece

Hi Bloggy friends -

So today I have received two emails from friends in Greece telling me that the situation in Athens is completely different from how it's being portrayed in the world media, and that that portrayal has been really damaging to Athenians and to Greece. I'm putting one of those emails here, just so that you can get an idea of what is really going on. For once, this blog gets political. (Thank goodness.) If you agree, email the editor of the Guardian and the news editor at the BBC and tell them so. Here's the letter. This is from a well educated, urban hipster, not so unlike you and me...

Hello all, hope you are all well and happy :)
I'm sending this email in light of what has been going on in Greece at the moment. I don't know how long it will last or where it will lead. I do know that I would like people to understand the truth and not the media portrayal.

Indeed a cop shot dead a 15 year old boy in the center of Athens (Exarcheia district is a popular area btw and it happened just next to one of my favourite bars-just so you understand that the district is not at all a rundown-high-crime area). He shot him after having a verbal confrontation-the boy did not attack him physically- and only after the two cops provoked the group of 15 year olds. People started taking to the streets in an hour and the riots spread all over Greece later that night. That much is already accepted by the media all around the world.

The riots in Greece are not at all a mob attack, the people involved are not thugs. There has been indeed a few incidents of looting and its true that among the people there are certain individuals that are taking advantage of the situation.
No citizens have been threatened by the protesters and not all protests are violent. Strikes in many public sectors show that its the majority of people opposing an over conservative regime that has been leaning way too much to the right. The youth might be the more active protesters but older adults and middle aged people join the peaceful protests allover the country.

At the moment, police is using violence to deal with peaceful protesters, hitting already handcuffed children and repeatedly firing shots in the air when there is no provocation. The excessive use of chemicals is extremely dangerous to the protesters, the passer buys and the residents of the different areas.Two fifteen year olds that were arrested during one of the peaceful protests were handcuffed and attacked by 5 riot police officers who stepped on their heads, kicked them in the face and dragged them across the street by their hair...

I think it is important to know what is really going on. Its not a nation against a group of thugs. Its a nation against police brutality, conservatism, and a gonvernment that has been involved in a historic number of scandals.

Spreading the truth is a form of resistance to violence and apathy that we can all afford.


Monday, 1 December 2008

The Curious Case of F Lost Fitzgerald

Hollywood was never good to him. Anyone who read the Pat Hoby stories knows that. F Scott Fitzgerald practically serves as the posterboy for why too-talented prose writers should never move to Los Angeles. They'll suck you dry, they'll take you for everything you've got, and they'll never give you the credit you deserve. Now, nearly seventy years after his death, Lala land is sticking it to him again - with its adaptation of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

If you haven't heard about this movie yet, trust me, after it opens Christmas day, you will. It's a Brad Pitt/ Cate Blanchett vehicle being hailed by everyone in the industry as sure to sweep at least ten Oscars. I'd heard about it nearly a year ago, when I imdb'd my old friend Scottie and saw that one of my favourite short stories was being adapted into a film by David Fincher. But here's where things get hairy - Even though any fan of Fitzgerald knows the story well (they haven't changed the title, at least) Fitzgerald's credit for the project is being kept to a bare minimum. He hasn't even got a credit under "Writing" on imdb.

Call me sentimental, but hasn't our friend Scotty suffered enough at the hands of the film industry? Could the Hollywood that treated him so badly in his later years at least honor his memory by admitting that the strongest part of this picture, the concept, is his? I'm sure Eric Roth has done a sufficiently Hollywood job with his adaptation, (Eric Roth also wrote Forest Gump) but to see him take full credit (seriously, check imdb) for a story written by one of the greatest writers of the last century is so unfunny it makes me want to cry. I'm surprised the Estate are letting this pass. There should be a guild for dead writers.