Wednesday 04 April 2012

More Brick Less Mortar

The Samantha Brick hoopla wasn’t going away; for one I was back in the office today and so this was the first time I had heard real people talk about it rather than people I will never meet (Twitter).

She was still getting some pure hatred. Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to an earlier article where Brick said her husband would divorce her if she got fat – the Twitter person said she was a disgrace to women and that how could it be love if he would divorce her if she got fat. Now my first reaction to the article on a skim read was that her husband was the one who was a bit of a twat. And not because he is shallow, that is any man or woman’s right, but the fact that he seems to remark on people around him for not fitting in with his worldview is something that Brick seems to put at the door of the people of Britain for not being used to a pot-bellied French man shouting ‘fat whore’ when he choses.

As usual, during the conversation at work, I took a point to its extremes to try to prove a point I didn’t necessarily agree with. It’s a real pleasure working with me I tell you. My point was this, yes this guy is a dick – definitely. But if a big thing for him is the way someone looks and he is open about this then…not fair enough..but, if she is of  a similar physical basis for companionship then….well, fair enough. If two people get together over a shared mutual passion for something and then one changes isn’t this a usual reason to end a relationship? It just seems if a person is talking about anything other than looks it seems fair enough to say it, but surely one reason is akin to another. Definitely physical appearance is a much more sensitive issues than most, but that’s society, no? And if it’s not and it is just a natural thing then people are criticising nature? [See where your mind can take you where you try to be your own counterpoint?]

You just can’t imagine the hoopla if the article had been about how about she and her husband had formed their relationship entirely down to their mutual love of badger conservation and that recently she’s started giving less of a fuck about badgers, and that subsequently her husband had a conversation where he has said that their love was built on shared feelings about badger conservation and that she had told him she would always love badgers. If she was going to stop caring about badgers then maybe he still loved her but he didn’t want to be with a woman he didn’t want to go to badger conservation rallies with anymore. (I should have thought a little bit more about this analogy; the word badger itself seems somehow euphemistic for sex, which wasn’t, consciously, intended, and are badgers conserved? I am sure they are protected and looked after – but conserved?)

The point I am (ham-fistedly) nowhere near making very well at all is that love and marriage are not synonymous. I think the guy is a right numpty to get married with this proviso openly stated (I keep it unspoken). And yet. And yet..if he sees the physical side of it as so important to him and it is so important to her then it goes as without saying it will be a big part of their relationship. If it stops being important to one and remains important to the other are we saying that one of them has to spend the rest of their life without something important to them? It strikes me as a fairly big thing to lose out on in lots of relationships – that is seemingly integral to the initial stages of feelings being made. Remember, I was just investigating a thought chain here; there is no evidence I am basing this on anecdotal frustration of men and women in long-term relationships.

Taking this non-anecdotal thought chain one step further (this was all still part of the discussion at work), I made the point that if someone were to be an ass they could say that love is essentially a term for familiarity. You’re pretty much damned if you were to go for someone younger/prettier/taller/fatter/blonde-haired/longer-legged/etc Yet, if you work on the logic that some combination of all the factors you desire in a mate is the reason you and a mate together you are surely open to them running off with someone who embodies all your qualities yet is slightly taller and is good with sick animals when you have always wished I (oh, first person: paging Dr Freud) was taller and good with animals. And if you don’t agree with that logic because of love then you are just admitting that love is familiarity/shared history.

When you debate for the sake of debating and use extreme logic you end up reducing love to something less magical than in the films, and subsequently making a French chauvinist seem like he might have a point. Truly there is no place for logic in discussing emotion.

It is hard to construct a great defence of Brick based on either article, but I am pretty sure everyone going on about her being ugly isn’t a good response. As long as the joke is at the expense of her over-inflated sense of importance there is clearly room for mockery.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Definitely not connected with anything that has been written thus far, I went to watch a brilliant production of Alan Sillitoe’s brilliant Saturday Night and Sunday Morning at The Royal Exchange Theatre tonight. I definitely did in no way identify with the lead character Arthur Seaton, who was not exactly a sympathetic lead in the 1950s: an arrogant loud-mouth with a reputation for being able to handle his booze and a penchant for spending his money on clothes.

It was a brilliant version of an important work from British literature, specifically the ‘kitchen sink’ realism movement of the late 50s/60s. Perry Fitzpatrick was amazing as Arthur Seaton, he is on stage for the entire two-hour play and generally talking ten-to-the-dozen which is no mean feat. This didn’t stop him embodying all the brilliant anger, arrogance and twisted logic of the anti-hero at the centre of events. The rest of the cast was also impressive – Tamla Kari and Clare Calbraith were great female leads, the latter having to carry the heavy drama of the piece in the latter segment of the first half. Jo Hartley was also very impressive in a supporting role, adding comedy and pathos in equal measures when required.

I got a bit proper there – my apologies.

If I had one gripe with it, which I didn’t really, it was that my favourite line from the film wasn’t in it. Albert Finney as Arthur say’s – to justify leaving a pub to move elsewhere – “it’s more dead in here than it is alive.”

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