… Let's look back on the last week.
I had a great Christmas with the family. I also got my arse kicked twice in 2 sessions of bowling, but you know what? I enjoyed it all. The pre-sertraline me would be pissed off at how shit I was at playing, and would correlate it to my abilities to do literally anything in life- but the new pilled-up me enjoyed being with mates regardless of my scores.
I finished reading The Dirt, Neil Strauss' biography of rock group The Motley Crue, an epic, detailed timeline of the four members' lives, first released in 2002. Rock music and it's image don't particularly appeal to me, but I'm interested in the lives of people who live to excess- who go over the top to stand out and be remembered. Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee certainly did all of that. Every page details the chaotic, drink-and-drug-and-sex-fuelled rise from broke-as-fuck middle-American kids to chart-topping rock legends. Consistently entertaining, and sustains our empathy no matter how bad the protagonists behave (and we all know how bad things got between Tommy and Pamela Anderson), The Dirt is a generous, well-detailed 400-pager with fascinating and frequently bleak tales on each one. I found it reduced to £3 in HMV too, which was a total bargain.
I also finished reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, which was made into an award-winning Jack Nicholson movie in 1975. Delinquent RP McMurphy blags his way into a stay in a mental hospital to avoid a hard labour sentence, and wages war on the establishment- in particular the cold, formal but disturbingly sexy Nurse Ratched. The book differs from the film in that one of the film's final twists is actually revealed from the start of the book. The book is a lot darker and the mental ward takes on a much more of a brooding, haunted-asylum tone on the page, but there's still wads of deep-south comedy provided mostly from McMurphy. A great read.
Next up: Measure for Measure, York Notes Advanced guide to the Shakespeare comedy. I gather the Advanced notes are designed to cater for A-level study of the text, as opposed to GCSE (covered by standard York Notes books), and the detail reflects that. These books are great not just for understanding the text, but learning about storytelling techniques in general. Have you ever seen Martin Scorse's Casino? Sam Ace Rothstien narrates the majority of the story, but other characters like Nicky Santoro and Frankie Marino chip in with their commentary throughout the film. In literary terms, this is called a soliloquy, something the audience can hear but the other characters in the film cannot. It was a popular storytelling technique in Shakespeare's time, allowing more insight on the narrative.
Measure for Measure itself is suppose to be a comedy, but it's a pretty bleak one, with a few deaths and imprisonments.
Finally, with a day to spare of 2017, I bashed through Letts Explore Twelfth Night. I prefer Letts guides, as they seem the clearest and best organised, with succinct guides to characters and themes. It doesn't, however, go into much detail about the history of the play and whether the screwball plot of mistaken identities is actually a comedy (Wikipedia says it is).. The focus of Letts is on the content of the play, and doesn't extend to the context of how it would be received in Shakespeare's time, or today.
Away from literature...
Just found a typo in Letts Explore Twelfth Night. Can you see it? #amreading pic.twitter.com/WYnYOLmK8u— Matt Tuckey (@matthewtuckey) December 31, 2017
The Official Back to the Future Twitter account liked my tweet about 2Unlimited. (The song was actually Tribal Dance, Not Workaholic.)
And that's about it! Now to prepare for the last party of 2017 in Manchester's Roc & Rye!