Monthly Archives: October 2008

Book and more books

My favourite show is back on UK television again. Its name is “The Book Show“. The programme has been on for nearly three years now. The first episode of the third series was aired last week on the Sky Arts channel and was quite interesting; Zoë Heller, the author of “Notes on a Scandal” talked about books that she had recently been reading in the section called “What’s on my bedside table”. The three books she mentioned are super riveting: Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century by Tony Judt, Netherland by Joseph O’Neill and The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 1 with an introduction by Philip Gourevitch. I happened to obtain a copy of the latter ages ago and I can concur with the author that it is an absolute treat. The book contains a number of startling interviews with some well known writers such as Truman Capote, T. S. Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut,  Joan Didion and so on. The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 2 is an equal gem and I already have it. This volume brought to you some other celebrated writers; for example, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Stephen King, Alice Munro etc. And The latest, Volume 3, was published just this month and is sure to have some very revealing and dazzling interviews with the most well recognised writers. I cannot wait to get a copy of it.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Book, UK

I want to go to Thailand to see the movie!

According to Thaicinema.org the International Film & Animation Festival 2008 will take place in Pai, Thailand. What a fabulous idea to watch movies outdoors under a sea of mist in one of the most romantic places in Thailand! To lie down or you could sit if you like, with someone, friends and family or your fiancee, in front of the big screen surrounded by beautiful, scenic hills and mountains alongside the river, I could not ask for a better place to spend a holiday between 28 November and 7 December. Especially at this time of the year, when the weather is beginning to turn cooler. Whoever came up with the idea of organising this event in Pai is a genius and should be applauded. For those who do not know about this place, you could just search “Pai Thailand” on the internet. Here is the website for the festival, which is still under construction: Paifilmfestival2008. Thank you again to Thaicinema.org for this very interesting information

I do not think I will have the opportunity to go to Pai while the festival is taking place, which is unfortunate. As a movie goer and someone who used to regularly go to see outdoor movies at night during my youth, this event is  highly appealing. It is a great shame that I am living abroad right now. If you have never watched an outdoor movie you should at least try once in your life. It will be a memorable experience. I cannot guarantee, but I hope.

I was not paid by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to write this post; I am writing it of my own free will!

3 Comments

Filed under Film, Thailand, Travel

British Style Genius

I watched an episode of this show on BBC2 on Tuesday. From the moment I caught a glimpse of it, I knew that I was going to enjoy the show. And I did. It was about three well known British fashion mavericks: Vivian Westwood, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. You can watch this show again via BBC iPlayer.

In terms of fashion, their garments are not my cup of tea; I personally would not want to wear what they created, but what I see in their work is so stimulating, stylishly quirky and uniquely marvellous. The way they design their clothes and the creativity and energy that they put into their fashion show is so super interesting. It is like they tried to create art for people to wear. I could simply watch it again and again.

Leave a comment

Filed under British people, Clothing, Entertainment, Fashion, UK

Ode to a tree

There have been some workmen digging up the pavement in the neighbourhood for two weeks now. These people suddenly turned up because there has been a problem with a leaking pipe which has caused somebody’s driveway to subside. So far, they have managed to excavate the pavement and part of the next door neighbour’s garden. And tomorrow they are going to demolish the tree at the bottom of our garden because it is in their way.

I did not know before today that the tree was first planted in 1969; and neither did I care much about it until an elderly man who also lives in the neighbourhood came to talk to the person with whom I have been living about some insignificant thing. And he informed us about the tree’s history. I did not feel especially sad that we were going to lose it tomorrow for eternity; quite the opposite, I felt a bit relieved that we were never going to have to undertake our annual pruning routine again. At the same time, when I knew this afternoon that it was going to be cut down for good, I felt that the tree deserved some mention in my blog. It has been there for so long, it has grown up with a number of families that have lived in this house before us. I was not even born when it was put into the soil. When I first came to the UK to have my life here, it was already there. If it could speak there would be so many stories to tell about the neighbourhood and its people. Tomorrow morning, if I can be bothered to get up early, I might pay my respects to it for the last time, before it is massacred by those workmen from the water company. Though, I must remember that it is only a tree.

1 Comment

Filed under British people, UK

The Remains of the Day

I have been watching “The Remains of the Day”, adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro‘s Booker Prize-winning novel, for the third time. I first watched the movie as part of a “British Life and Institutions” course, which was one of the subjects I had to study in my first semester in the UK. I was not then able to understand anything about the movie, nor did the majority of my classmates. Many of us could not cope with the formal style of English language that the actors use in the film. Consequently, when the professor asked us, after it had finished, if we had been able to grasp anything from the movie, unsurprisingly, almost all of us immediately turned mute, except for a couple of people who attempted to answer the question.

I felt really bad with the fact that I could not follow anything at all with the movie, let alone try to talk about it in group discussion. I suppose the professor might also have felt a bit discontented with our performance. To be honest, I felt that we had let him down but at the same time there was not much we could do as the posh language was far beyond our understanding. On the way home after the class had ended I decided to drop by at Waterstones, a well-known bookstore in the UK, to get a copy of this wonderful novel. I left it on my bookshelf for two years before reading it. It turned out that, this time, I was able to understand the language used in the story; I enjoyed it a lot.

I have not yet finished my latest viewing of the movie, but I am very well pleased with the fact that I can now follow almost everything that has happened in “The Remains of the Day”. It must illustrate how much my English has improved. The movie is very interesting and I am greatly enjoying it.

2 Comments

Filed under Book, Education, Film, UK

I told you so

If you have read my blog before, you might remember that I have previously mentioned dengue fever which is prevalent in Thailand during the rainy season. And here comes some news about this nasty disease:

There were more than 60,000 dengue fever patients from January to October and 82 people were dead, according to public health ministry.” as the news says.

This was the reason that we had to learn at school about which diseases occur in each season e.g. dengue fever is endemic in the rainy season and food poisoning is easy to catch in the summer. Both are common in a tropical country like Thailand. Any visitor wishing to go to the land of smiles would be wise to check some basic information about these local complaints. I suppose nobody wants to have a bad time in a foreign country, do they?

Leave a comment

Filed under Illness, News, Thailand

A conversation with an unstable guy

I was walking to the train station in order to get to school in London when suddenly there was a decent looking young lad shouting in my direction. I had not met him before and I was a tad surprised that someone was making an attempt to chat with me, seeing as the local people are usually quite reserved. So, I smiled at him and greeted him back. The guy said something that I was not able to catch and then carried on walking in front of me. I did not pay him much attention but he suddenly turned and quickly walked back to me. He kept gibbering on about so many things at the same time which was rather difficult for a Thai person like me who was not then used to the native accent. I found him incomprehensible and confusing. Nevertheless, not wishing to be rude, I just nodded my head in agreement with whatever came out of his mouth, even though I could not understand what he was talking about. I introduced myself as a Thai person who had come to the UK to study and asked him whether he had ever been to Thailand. By then, we had been walking alongside each other for a few minutes, when again he abruptly turned away from me and looked at his surroundings, standing quite still. I ignored him and kept on walking to the station. Then a few seconds later he caught up with me again and carried on talking to me about anything and everything. I asked him again if he knew Thailand. I also told him which part of Thailand I came from and asked if he knew any Thai beaches. But he did not seem to grasp what I had just said to him and he still babbled about something entirely irrelevant to our conversation. And then I decided to ask which school or university he went to. Suprisingly, he understood what I had just asked him. And he replied that he did not go to school because of his schizophrenia. It took me a few brief moments to understand what he meant. Because of this, I was beginning to feel apprehensive about carrying on this conversation, but I still tried to be diplomatic; at the same time, my brain told me to walk away from this chit chat and I did. Luckily the guy seemed to be interested in other things, looking around and running back and forth between me and some imagined object in the distance. I felt the need to speed up as quickly as I could to get out of his way. I kept on walking and had almost reached the town centre before I noticed that he was marching off in another direction.

Many months later I saw the news about a schizophrenic who had stabbed someone to death. Thankfully, the guy I met was not in that bad state of mind. And later I met him a second time, but this time, I kept out of his way and tried to get as far away from him as I could. I know that it is not his fault that he is what he is. Still, I find it hard to deal with people like this. I walked away and he looked at me for a fleeting moment and then turned back. I doubt he remembered that we had had an earlier conversation together. If he had not been unstable, he would have come across as an ordinary, decent bloke or even an agreeable person and I might have had the opportunity to make a new friend. Maybe.

1 Comment

Filed under British people, UK