Playing catch-up: Five Gold Rings, Six Geese A-Laying, Seven Swans A-Swimming


Playing catch-up: Five Gold Rings, Six Geese A-Laying, Seven Swans A-Swimming

Alright, so I fell off schedule, alright? Get off my back, imaginary reader. God isn't real and the twelve days of Christmas can fall whenever I feel like it. I got thrown off my schedule by a broken charger and a frankly byzantine attempt to get it replaced at the apple store. And then who wants to write a blog a day over new year? Evidently, not me. 

Making these images is the best part of this whole 'blogging' thing

Making these images is the best part of this whole 'blogging' thing

Five Gold Rings: May

Any plays, films, music or any other art I encountered in May has been blown out of all recollection by the general election and the despair that accompanied it. I've got a friend who says sitting in the room with Rothko's Seagram murals at the Tate Modern moved her to tears. I can't say I've ever been that emotionally affected by a work of abstraction, but if anything ever came close, it was this. The little red speck that is London, reaching out to the Northern cities across an ocean of blue. It's like The Raft of the Medusa

Worrying about the Labour party has since taken up way more of my brain in 2015 than is healthy, and in the months since the election, I've actually bored three of my friends to death. 

Six Geese A-Laying: June

What happened in June? Anything good? I don't remember. I was probably still depressed about the election. Sorry June!

Seven Swans A-Swimming: July

Weekday night. Flatmates are in the living room. James has just put his dinner in the oven. 

"Shall we watch a film?"

"Yeah, sure - what's on Netflix?"

"There's this movie Kajaki, a war film, it's supposed to be good."

"Ok, sure, stick it on." 

We put on the movie. A bunch of British soldiers are hanging out on their base in Afghanistan. One goes for a swim. They work out. They talk about killing Taliban. They think about eating peaches. They take it in turns to watch the road. When they see what looks like an illegal roadblock, three guys go down to investigate. Fuck it, it's something to do. On their way down to the road, one steps on a mine and has his leg blown off. 

At about this point, we pause the film and James gets his dinner out of the oven. Beef mince. He looks at it. He isn't feeling hungry. 

The rest of the movie is just them trying to get out of the minefield alive. It's horrific, tense, and it makes every other war film, whatever the ostensible 'war is hell' message, look like jingoistic flag-waving propaganda. The bravery of the guys is really incredible, but it's all so pointless. An invading army wanders into a minefield left by another invading army, thirty years before, and spends the entire movie trying to get out without anyone dying. The Taliban never show up. No one ever fires a gun. The enemy is equipment shortages, fuzzy radio signals, army bureaucracy. And finally, at the end, the great achievement of these guys isn't some conquered territory, or some dead bad guy, or freedom brought to some remote village. It's that they all get to go back up the hill with a few less of them dead than might otherwise have been the case. 

The film ends. No one says anything. James scrapes his mince into the bin. 

Best war film I've ever seen. Never want to see it again.