Dorothy Parker, acidic wit of the Algonquin Round Table in 1920s New York, has recently become one of my favourite writers since reading her Collected Short Stories. They’re wonderful snapshots of urban twenties (and beyond) city life, often monologues or dialogues that are painfully honest and fiercely well-observed. People don’t change too much and the characters are still recognisable today.
Here are some clips of her poetry and prose courtesy of the world web.
Dorothy herself reads one of her more disturbing poems, a comedic take on suicide (she was known for her attempts on her own life) Resume:
Here is a reading of probably her most famous story A Telephone Call. It’s something most people at one time or another can relate to.
Anne Hathaway reads from her short story The Garter:
Dorothy wishing for more in One Perfect Rose:
A man with a crazily husky voice reads her funny and painfully true insight of a man afraid of what he did the night before in You Were Perfectly Fine:
A mini documentary by me on a piece of local history. Yup, the Witchfinder General happened in my town and the surrounding areas. Amongst the usual stories of accusations and hangings are scary and strange tales told by frightened people of the time, including Betty Potter whose body ‘disappeared.’
I don’t know what it is about these videos that makes me chuckle so, but they really do. Some of them are quite sweet, some are bordeline offensive, and for a happy life all require you to be middle class and white.
First is Choosing For Happiness, a film where Eve is slowly made to realise that her mostly quite valid concerns should be squashed if she’s to have anyone put up with her:
Next up is that quandry that faces us all, how to be a square without our friends hating us! Moral Maturity shows us.
Now the opposite end of the spectrum, Drug Addiction. What happens when one suddenly finds themselves addicted to heroin? The particularly clunky dialogue in this one really makes me laugh:
Here Woody shows us how to ask for a date in Dating Dos and Don’ts (made in 1947 but still counts). Wow, that girl is a bitch, is he sure he wants to go with her?
And now he shows us how to make girls angry when you drop them off
Here’s another clip considering the problems of How to Date:
Finally, the all important concern: Are You Popular? All the boys are happy to park with Jenny but apparently this doesn’t make her popular the next day. Dammit, I knew I was doing something wrong!
It occured to me the other day how nature remains beautiful even when it’s being downright disgusting or bizarre, and I would like to honour that achievement.
So, today we shall look at the inspiration behind many people’s art: the Weirdness of Nature.
First let’s ease you in gently with some cute kitties on catnip, taken from BBC series Weird Nature:
Second is a series I find quite amusing (and very odd), Sacred Weeds. Shown back in the 90s, two test subjects take a natural hallucinogen (different in each episode) while men in suits ask questions and stare:
This is a rather sweet, inoffensive clip of mushrooms growing from the series Planet Earth (with some music added). I defy anyone not to chuckle at the willy shaped ones:
Back in March New South Wales, Australia was blighted by floods. The locals were evacuated and, desperate to escape the water, these spiders moved “onto higher ground” leaving an entire ghost town engulfed by webs. Story (and creepy pictures) here.
Next up I saw a lot of fairly grim things during the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth (creepy crawlies), but for some reason this made me go all funny:
And these leaopard slugs are beautiful (in a slightly grim, surreal way):
Anything deep sea is like visiting a hostile alien planet (just watch the BBC’s The Blue Planet). In the meantime here’s a little vid with some music:
I’d have loved to find a clip of vampire bats, particularly from the documentary that shows one creeping up on a pig. Unfortunately there isn’t one on youtube that doesn’t have a hokey American voiceover and I just can’t bring myself to do it. So you have to imagine it instead, which is probably good for you.
Penultimately have a look at series The Future Is Wild, where scientists hypothesise in a Walking With Dinosaurs kind of way on the direction the animal kingdom might go millions of years after we’ve disappeared.
Lastly is the one I find most amazing. It has all the elements: it’s beautiful, it’s disturbing, it’s insidious, it’s science fiction in the natural world; the cordyceps fungus, as shown on Planet Earth:
I’ve been watching a series on Sky Arts called Monty Python, almost the truth. Its really good and I recommend it for any other obsessives out there. I don’t think anything else has made me so jolly as Monty Python has. If I feel unwell or a bit down I’ll watch that or Not Only but Also (even though there’s hardly any of it bloody left).