La Dolce Vita

I’m in the mood
for a frothy kind of moment,

wading into the Trevi fountain at dawn while early tourists gawp

and the water rolls off my skin sweetened by a feast of Italian pastries

the disbelieving, laughing sparse crowd disappears as it is all for your benefit

For you,
who is unlike anybody I’ve ever met,

and for you

I am a goddess made of pale flesh, a temptress in a black dress

though Fellini is long gone, the cameras stopped rolling at a point in time when the world gave up, the colours bled out and la dolce vita died

except in crooked hearts like mine

La notte—dark as tar, I would be blind if it wasn’t for the light in your eyes,
reflecting my image a hundred times—
a dreaming woman materialising out of film stills, in black and white

The one where I digress, a lot

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I’ve been in rather an angry mood for the last couple of days for reasons best left undiscussed. 
Anger is not productive and I wanted to shake that off. I didn’t want to write anything angry either, angry words are like wasps, they keep stinging over and over.

So I thought I should write something meaningless and inconsequential to rid myself of those feelings somehow, but what?

Well, I happened to look at my WordPress stats…I never look at them but decided I should try to find out a little more about my own blog. I discovered lots of things, but the one that shocked me the most was that this year, my most “looked at” post was something called “Done with The Walking Dead”. It was written in FIVE MINUTES a few weeks back and it is by a mile THE most successful post on my blog for 2016. I wrote a lot of things this year, a few pieces that I’m quite proud of actually, but stats-wise they linger far behind a post in which I used the word “fuck” about 20 times.

That’s when I realised I had my subject matter.

You see, this particular post I just mentioned was all about me giving up on a TV show I used to love, but one that had gone too far with the cheap tricks for me to carry on with the relationship. Even though it had started very promisingly.
I did give up on the show but, I live with someone who is addicted and who refused to accept he had lost his viewing partner. So he bugged me, over and over: “pleeeeease watch with me, please!”

When that didn’t work, he tried a different tack: “you’re so fickle, Nat. I can’t believe you’d give up just like that.”
Yes, the bait was enormous, unmissable, but I swallowed it all the same, I’m Pisces after all.
“Just like that? I gave it chances after chances like I’ve done with many things and people in the past, because I’m not a quitter! But sometimes you’ve gotta admit you’ve tried everything and things just aren’t working.”

So, every week, the sounds of The Walking Dead would reach me from the TV screen but I held fast. I refused to watch. Occasionally I saw 5 minutes of an episode because it was a “Negan bit” and “come on, Nat, you love Negan”
Well, actually, no, I don’t. He was one of the reasons I gave up watching. The guy had charisma but was far too cartoonish for my liking.

Anyway, I was coerced into watching the mid-season finale.
So I did. And what can I say but, bloody hell!

Negan is as bad as I remember him: putting an emphasis on every. single. word.
I was telling someone not long ago (a brilliant writer actually, who rocks my world on a regular basis, you can find him here: A Journal For Damned Lovers) that I do a great Negan impression (even though I’m French and it makes no sense that I should be able to) and my friends always clamour for it. Well, it’s true. I’ve got it down to a T. Even the weird way he has of leaning back while emphasising every word. So, I’m not a performing seal, but I do indulge my friends when they ask.

Negan drives me nuts! I just cannot, cannot buy him.

The actor is totally my type though, rugged looking and everything, but he’s just shit at playing the part.
So, the episode started with Negan shaving. Omfg. No, no and no. I hadn’t been so perturbed since Rick shaved back in…can’t remember when, but ages ago. Rick without the beard is like French cheese without a baguette. No way. An abomination.

You probably don’t want to know this, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I have a huge crush on Rick, have had since season 2. Rick, not the actor. I once saw an interview with Andrew Lincoln and I recoiled with horror: the voice, the accent, it was ALL WRONG! The same goes for Jon Snow from Game of Thrones: huge crush on the character but when I first heard Kit Harington speak, I wanted to throttle him for ruining the fantasy. I don’t want to hear my heir to the throne (brought up in the north) talk with a plummy accent. Maybe I should just stop watching interviews with actors, or even better, they could stay in character all the time (no, I’m not demanding at all.) This is why I adore Sean Bean: whether it’s Boromir or Ned Stark or Sean Bean himself, it’s the same devilish charm. But, I digress.

So, Negan. He shaved and I lost the little interest I had in him.
What can I say, I like my men with at least some stubble. I don’t go for looks anyway but it’s very rare for me to be attracted to a man who hasn’t got facial hair. Robert Downey Jr. is my ideal man should I ever have to name one under the threat of torture. As an aside, somebody gave me a “I’m fucking Robert Downey Jr.” t-shirt once but being a rebel with a sense of propriety, I’ve never worn it anywhere but to bed.

Anyway, Negan shaved. He cooked spaghetti and sampled the sauce wearing a white t-shirt because he likes to live dangerously. He wanted a place set at the table for Lucille because he really is badass and quirky like that, should we ever forget.

I noticed, once again, that people in Alexandria have houses that are far tidier than mine. And they are living in apocalyptic times.
Then we saw Carol on a couch in front of a cosy fire reading a book. By this point I want to join the apocalypse setting because these people have it too good (apart from the zombies and stuff) To top it all off, Carol has more fresh fruit in her kitchen than most families do in England in present day. What the hell is going on?

I won’t even go into the whole thing where everyone hatches half-baked plans to kill Negan, all separately, instead of being clever and realising that joining forces would probably be a better idea. No, I said I wouldn’t.

Rick and Aaron…had to ask the addict I live with what Aaron’s name was because I’d forgotten. I could have used “Rick and the gay guy” but how un-PC of me and that would have resulted in more trolls on this blog, I don’t have the patience for that right now.
But, Rick and Aaron in the little boat, with their “sign paddles”…obviously Aaron drops in the water and somehow, after a little suspense, manages to make it out unscathed. I mean, how? People have been bitten just walking outside their front door or while peacefully having a chat in their garden. But Aaron falls in that cesspool… and not even a scratch. But okay, I like him anyway so I’m actually glad he somehow survived, defying all logic.

Daryl escaped, yay, but did he have to be quite so brutal with the poor sap pleading for his life? I know he was really venting his frustration after all the shit they’d put him through, but still.

Even Jesus was kinda shocked, even though he looked like he was straight out of a photo shoot for some glossy mag. HOW is everyone managing to look SO good in apocalyptic times? Men and women, the t-shirts and exquisitely faded shirts and jeans, it’s all so perfect, they all look far too yummy. It reminds me of when Ralph Fiennes came out of the fucking desert after walking for days in “The English Patient”, and he looked like a Ralph Lauren model. “Water” he croaked. Dehydration, exhaustion, not to mention his misery at having left Katharine behind should have been etched on his face and reflected in his general appearance…but, no. A little more realism sometime wouldn’t go amiss on TV and in films. Just saying.

I keep digressing, sorry. Now, Spencer, the little rat. I knew he was doomed the moment Rosita agreed to have dinner with him. And he deserved everything he got too. Hooray for Negan who did the one thing I can applaud him for — he gutted the backstabber with words of wisdom in the process.

Then of course Rosita does something completely stupid, just as Daryl did when he punched Negan in the season opening. When are these people going TO LEARN?
Get together and communicate! Use your brains, don’t all go flying solo trying stupid shit like this that’s going to get other people killed. Jesus. (No, not him!)

But, now I’ve destroyed pretty much the entire episode, let me get to the last 5 minutes. Michonne and Rick having their emotional little moment, blah blah blah whatever…but then…the gang arrives at Hilltop and…they are the original kickass gang again! They’ve got their groove back! (Needed to use that expression badly)

Daryl and Rick are reunited and I defy anyone not to feel a little choked up at the sight of them hugging. Rick even gets his gun back, another symbol that we are back in fighting moods, people!

The episode ended on the gang walking up together, united, strong and fearless like in the old days… and I got a shiver down my back because I’m a sucker for this kind of shit.
The message was clear: they will not swallow any more crap and are going to kick some arses (or asses if you’re in the US which is where most of my readership is, another fact gleaned from the stats on here.)

May the gods of slim-fit leather jackets help Negan. Though of course it’s probably going to take another 3 seasons to see some actual results, but his days of emphasising EVERYTHING are now officially numbered. Thank fuck for that.

Queen

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As the dark night sank into fire and blazed, she stood — and the stars dimmed by soft degrees, quietly, so as not to overshadow the queen – Khaleesi.
Soon, all could be seen were the flames dancing in her flaxen hair and the power of the dragon emerging from her fierce, commanding stare. 

Image credit: my own. I couldn’t help but take a couple of minutes to do my own version of that spine-tingling moment – you’d be forgiven to think I have far too much time on my hands…except I really don’t, I’m actually crazy busy at the moment… I’m just GoT obsessed. #Guilty

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The “real” khaleesi #TheUnburnt in the latest GoT episode: “Book of the Stranger”

Unnecessary cheap tricks

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This is my 5 minutes write up about last night’s The Walking Dead Season Finale – for the other Walking Dead addicts on here.

Okay, this is how I see it: Carol went from absolute badass to a pussycat who cannot handle killing anymore, in about 5 minutes. Does that make sense? No. Not one little bit, I can buy the change of heart but you have to build it up, it just wouldn’t happen overnight, no way. Then the Saviours somehow managed to block every single road AND somehow knew where the gang was going to stop to hatch their little plan? (btw, never has whistling in a dark forest seem SO creepy) I know Negan is powerful, but is he THAT powerful? And how did they know that Rick was going to be leaving Alexandria with the others? They couldn’t possibly know that Maggie was going to have a medical emergency… were they hoping they were going to come in search of Glenn and co? Or were they waiting JUST IN CASE?

The group would never have had to take Maggie away if they didn’t let their ONLY doctor go on a run, totally stupidly, only for her to predictably get shot through the eye. And Daryl and the others leaving last week was also incredibly stupid. Not to mention the awful habit everyone has developed of stopping in the middle of forests, rail tracks, etc…to have deep, intense or life-affirming (loud) chats when they should know better by now: you’ve gotta keep moving, SILENTLY, or bad things are going to happen!! In fact, this half season has been one spectacularly bad decision after another.

Anyway, all in all, we KNEW what was going to happen, we knew we were going to meet Negan (whom I found waaay too cool and likeable actually because, er, I’m supposed to hate him!), at the end of the episode of course, we knew somebody was going to get killed, and we knew there was going to be a cliffhanger…and I’m fine with all that… but WHY not let us see who got killed? It seems like SUCH a cheap trick. Isn’t the fact that somebody gets killed and Rick and co are in such a dire situation ENOUGH of a cliffhanger and enough to whet our appetites for next season? Come on!! I was SO upset after watching the finale last night that I left my house and went to McDonalds, I NEEDED junk food real actual bad. I broke my diet because of you AMC!
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The wind cannot defeat a tree with strong roots

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Glacial land, magnificent
and supremely indifferent
Beauty and cruelty
closely intertwined
The horror and the sublime
To human woes, nature is blind

The frozen river
a two-way mirror
where fate awaits —
a frightful fork
in the frigid road:
embracing death
or gathering the strength
to live another day
The purest of emotions — love —
so easily tainted by ugliness,
a savage quest for revenge
on those who have taken
everything that was worth
drawing breath for

Life wins, albeit
sustained by somber shades
At the heart of the tempest,
in adversity, the eternal verity:
the wind cannot defeat
a tree with strong roots

Those of you who have seen “The Revenant” will know that the title, and indeed the last two lines of this little write-up belong to the film. Those lines have been with me since I left the cinema late Sunday night, and they (along with this magnificent film) were the inspiration for this post. If you haven’t seen The Revenant yet, I highly recommend it. The directing and photography are akin to visual poetry, for a start. The acting is spot on. It’s incredibly poignant and…it’s life…with all its beauty and misery.The Revenant

Image credit: fromthegrapevine.com

Blind arrogance

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Mightily hard is the fall, when it’s a fall you’ve inflicted
on others so many times – but for yourself never expected

Intelligence is a gift one should never overestimate

Especially in oneself, hence the need to evaluate…

situations and people, before you make your move
Of your blind arrogance, my queen, I disapprove

Your love for your children, your only redeeming quality

Alas, not enough to earn my, or anyone else’s, magnanimity

You brought this unfortunate situation on yourself
A scheming queen ought to have ample self-awareness

Guilty of resting on your laurels, you should have stayed sharp
Oh dear Cersei, you’re just not as clever as you think you are

Image credit: http://www.dnaindia.com