Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wish You Were Here (Incubus)

I suppose the title is marginally misleading, as I don't wish anyone to be in Winston (excepting perhaps Favourite or Lauren), but rather I wish to be out of Winston and back in London. I find now the highly appropriate time to cue up visual images of the beautifully dated
Look at Life series of video shorts that we watched in history lecture with Prof. Rosen last year.

For anyone who has not had the joy of experiencing this treasure of 1960s cinema - apparently screened in weekly installments in Odeon theatres for a while - it's brilliant. The only thing I can think to compare it to is the Beatles' first campy Dick Lester classic A Hard Day's Night. Oh ho! Not just a song, and not just an album, this catchy mis-spoken phrase of Ringo's made it all the way to an hour and a half of black and white cinematic glory.
AHDN is a must for the fan who was born something like 40 years too late. As for the Look at Life series itself, it goes through clubs, the south bank, building those ghastly towers in the Barbican, and several other facets of London life in the 60s. And all with that stock narrator voice that was probably used for 90% of PSAs and educational videos when our parents were still young.

[Flashback about watching flashbacks now over.] Of course, in spite of the fact that I feel a bit like a six-year-old at Christmas waiting to go back to the UK, I must for the time firmly ground myself back in North Carolina. (Surpressing the urge to make a Simon and Garfunkle's difficult) With this being the last semester I have left in my undergraduate career it would be a great thing not to succumb to the dreaded "senioritis" and let my classes and committments slip by me. I suppose it would help if I hadn't taken such a light course load: then I would be forced to pay attention in order to manage the torrent of papers and readings in various and sundry classes so as not to make myself look like a complete moron to my professors and any interested admissions boards. However, my two "real" classes stand quite lonely in the schedule this term. Greek Myth was taken absolutely for fun. That sounds strange when you consider all the reading it requires and the fact that I don't even need another literature credit.

Those factors don't take into the account the wonderful pool of genius that is Dr. James T. Powell. I took his class on Classic Epic (Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid) the semester before I went to London and it was brilliant. For a class that's straight lecture - no discussion at all - it never ceases to keep me engaged. Partially this is the subject matter: who could succumb to the temptations of Facebook or YouTube when learning about the inner turmoil of Orestes having to kill his mother for killing his father? Or the triumph of Odysseus over Achilles as the more complete heroic paradigm? No one, that's who. The other part to this glorious liberal arts equation is the man himself: Dr. Powell. A somewhat diminuative and erudite-looking man, his obvious-yet-refined Alabama accent is always pleasant to listen to. Whether he's discussing the aresteia of Diomedes in
Iliad 5, or explaining the problematic nature of the central character in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound it's always fun to hear those names. He's always in a suit and jacket and walks everywhere on campus. Last semester I'd see him without fail whilst walking to my room from class at least twice a week. Did I mention that he has the most impressive memory I've ever seen? Upwards of 25 names at rapid-fire speed only seconds after having the entire list of names in the class given to him with no pauses. Impressive.

At any rate, I have now wasted enough time sitting in this chair and allowing my brain to be converted into jello by the internet. There are errands that must be run, sending me out into the chilly yuckiness that is this afternoon.
Of course, I’m sure the post office is shut by now, and I really ought to have put something in the post today. Darn. Even if I just get new jeans (to replace the pairs that have died) the day will be a success.

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