Books From Your Teens (1 Viewer)

pete

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Really? It seems like a hard one to fuck up.

I watched all series of Mr. Mercedes and really enjoyed it. It went a bit stupid in the second series but apart from that I really liked it.
That’s what I thought too. I was very, very wrong.
 

Nate Champion

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it had a article on the wave of dramatists of the era -
Behan, Beckett, Osborne, Delaney, Pinter, Ionesco.
so I read that aged 15 myself and thought Beckett, Pinter and Ionesco sounded exciting.

the best thing was the writer when reviewing each play gave a full synopsis of the plot !
most people would hate spoilers like that but I thought it was great.
so instantly I knew Rhinoceros or The Caretaker were essential reads.
says a lot about how I view fiction.

some years later I tracked both down and some Sam B. and for once literature
met my expectations.
Rhinoceros is the best thing I've ever read - Berenger is my hero.
the final speech in that play, particularly the last few lines are beyond immense.

anyone know why people like the folks I've mentioned positively here
aren't on the secondary syllabus ?
or they just too good to let the education system ruin them for kids ?

I think those writers are just way too mind-blowingly subversive for the makers of the curriculum of English as taught in secondary schools in Ireland... I mean that's proper absurdist theatre - they were turning the canon and what could be achieved on stage on its arse. To be honest Rhinoceros left me on the shore when I read it, and I may have seen a particularly egregious NUI Galway student production of Ionescu when I was in NUI Galway. I also remember a lifeless production of Pinter's The Dumbwaiter in NUI Galway which almost made me evaporate through my seat cringing.

I also remember some massive alphabetized encyclopaedia which had an entry on American 20th Century Literature. Wiseblood by Flannery O'Connor was a novel I discovered that way.

I remember when I had a mis-spent semester in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Technology of whatever technology it is they do there, and I think coming across the film version of The Caretaker was formative for me. Blew me away. Alan Bates.

Anyway, I think the gulf between these writers and the kind of trite, conservative modern guff that ends up on these curriculums can't even be fathomed. How Many Miles To Babylon??

Big shout out for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia which you mention in a later post - one of my all-time favourites. Have you seen Peckinpah's WWII film, Cross of Iron? He focuses solely on a class analysis of the German army during WWII. Subversive in the context of American film-makers making WWII films... or any war films which are essentially propaganda. In an argument in the car with my mother about anti-Soviet propaganda in the American arts recently she concluded her two bits with "but shure why would they have made all those films?" The American propaganda cultural apparatus has done its job...

I don’t know, I think Beckett would be great to counterbalance the typical dramas on the syllabus. I think Pinter might the on the British A-levels?

Pinter on the British A-levels surprises me. He's a proper British subversive. I tend to be in agreement with what Robbe-Grillet said about British arts/culture even though it was quite a sweeping statement. I just reread The Homecoming out loud last week playing all the parts myself.

I'm going to dig into some Edward Bond next.





Most of the sci-fi chat here going over my head. Anyway.

I remember my alcoholic secondary school teacher aunt moving from Newcastle West to Mullingar when I was in fourth year and nabbing some interesting titles from her collection - chief among them was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest which was sweetass...pretty sure I had to repeat my leaving cert because my time was spent cracking into stuff like this. I also remember picking up 'The Ice Storm' by Rick Moody in Longford town in Leaving Cert. Good book. Good film. Maybe the only good thing either Rick Moody or Ang Lee have ever done.

Paul Auster was another late period secondary school rites of passage. Three for two in Books Upstairs.

For my two cents' worth, I think given the conservative nature of the curriculum, some Flannery O'Connor stories and Richard Yates' novels could be good for getting kids interested in literature and how it's crafted.

Hard to imagine anything formally radical like the absurdist theatre stuff getting close to considerations in Ireland.

I remember the Leaving Cert curriculum being pretty stinking for modern stuff. Almost literalist in its concerns and objectives. Dances With Wolves was the best modern work on it - 'nuff said.
 

magicbastarder

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regarding beckett, i've only seen a couple of his plays, but they strike me as something which make *far* less sense in text than in performance. so studying the text (given i would guess) the average LC class sees no more than one performance of the play they're studying) is a bit of a lost cause.

though, to be fair, they did manage to slip some godot in 'game of thrones'.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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I’ve read all of his plays and they definitely work on the page, not as well as a performance but that’s true of all theatre. The other thing is that (under normal conditions), whatever Beckett ends up on the LC would actually be performed a lot more.
 

nuke terrorist

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I think those writers are just way too mind-blowingly subversive for the makers of the curriculum of English as taught in secondary schools in Ireland... I mean that's proper absurdist theatre - they were turning the canon and what could be achieved on stage on its arse. To be honest Rhinoceros left me on the shore when I read it, and I may have seen a particularly egregious NUI Galway student production of Ionescu when I was in NUI Galway. I also remember a lifeless production of Pinter's The Dumbwaiter in NUI Galway which almost made me evaporate through my seat cringing.

I also remember some massive alphabetized encyclopaedia which had an entry on American 20th Century Literature. Wiseblood by Flannery O'Connor was a novel I discovered that way.

I remember when I had a mis-spent semester in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Technology of whatever technology it is they do there, and I think coming across the film version of The Caretaker was formative for me. Blew me away. Alan Bates.

Anyway, I think the gulf between these writers and the kind of trite, conservative modern guff that ends up on these curriculums can't even be fathomed. How Many Miles To Babylon??

Big shout out for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia which you mention in a later post - one of my all-time favourites. Have you seen Peckinpah's WWII film, Cross of Iron? He focuses solely on a class analysis of the German army during WWII. Subversive in the context of American film-makers making WWII films... or any war films which are essentially propaganda. In an argument in the car with my mother about anti-Soviet propaganda in the American arts recently she concluded her two bits with "but shure why would they have made all those films?" The American propaganda cultural apparatus has done its job...



Pinter on the British A-levels surprises me. He's a proper British subversive. I tend to be in agreement with what Robbe-Grillet said about British arts/culture even though it was quite a sweeping statement. I just reread The Homecoming out loud last week playing all the parts myself.

I'm going to dig into some Edward Bond next.





Most of the sci-fi chat here going over my head. Anyway.

I remember my alcoholic secondary school teacher aunt moving from Newcastle West to Mullingar when I was in fourth year and nabbing some interesting titles from her collection - chief among them was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest which was sweetass...pretty sure I had to repeat my leaving cert because my time was spent cracking into stuff like this. I also remember picking up 'The Ice Storm' by Rick Moody in Longford town in Leaving Cert. Good book. Good film. Maybe the only good thing either Rick Moody or Ang Lee have ever done.

Paul Auster was another late period secondary school rites of passage. Three for two in Books Upstairs.

For my two cents' worth, I think given the conservative nature of the curriculum, some Flannery O'Connor stories and Richard Yates' novels could be good for getting kids interested in literature and how it's crafted.

Hard to imagine anything formally radical like the absurdist theatre stuff getting close to considerations in Ireland.

I remember the Leaving Cert curriculum being pretty stinking for modern stuff. Almost literalist in its concerns and objectives. Dances With Wolves was the best modern work on it - 'nuff said.

magicbaster:
Beckett's work has a lot a humour that a good performance will really bring out.
very apparent when I saw some of his stuff on TV on his 100 anniversary.

but I would also say the language MacBeth is written makes it very hard for
me to understand... so not a unique problem ?

great post Nate.
Rhinoceros is actually written in very straight forward language and the only 'absurd'
part of it is that the nemeses are rhinos.
I love this because it can stand for anything you detest and never want to become.
although the rhinos are of course inspired by something specific.

on weekday mornings Channel 4 used to have often superb educational programmes
for kids. In my 20's (in the late 90's and early 2000's) I found myself watching this stuff.
one day they were showing a very interesting looking play on TV at about 11 am.
after a minute or two I recognised it was Acts Without Words performed by Barry McGovern.
Channel 4's educational department thought this was suitable for primary school kids.

Beckett's short plays are a great entry point to modern drama. even some eleven year
olds could probably last 20 minutes of Beckett.

sorry, I've never seen Cross of Iron by Peckinpah but will check it out.

the scene in Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia where Warren Oates' character
wakes up in the graveyard is a mind blowing avalanche of emotions.
amazing performance by Oates.

the rest of the things you mentioned I haven't read.
this probably isn't funny but... it was only about ten years ago that I realized
Flannery O'Connor wasn't a man's name.
 

magicbastarder

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I’ve read all of his plays and they definitely work on the page, not as well as a performance but that’s true of all theatre. The other thing is that (under normal conditions), whatever Beckett ends up on the LC would actually be performed a lot more.
of all plays i've read (not many, admittedly), i found the greatest gap between text and stage was with beckett. i read godot before i saw it, and it was a revelation on stage compared to the text.
 

hugh

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It's not like, say, not liking music or whatever. ("Hey, what kind of music are you into?" "You know what, I ...actually don't like music.")

I met someone like this once. One of my mates was going out with her. His band were doing a gig that weekend so I asked her:

"So, are you going to the gig on Saturday?"
"No"
"Oh really ... why not?"
"I don't really like music"
"Ha ha ha ha ..."
"No, I'm serious. I'm not into music"
"But you must like some form of music?"
"No. I just don't see the point of it".

I also met someone a few years ago who had never seen a film. I mean literally .. had never watched a film. And this was a woman in her 60s. TV yes - but had never had the inclination to watch a film. Not even one on TV.

I actually kind of respect this.
 

egg_

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A lad who sat next to me in work was the same about music. Just didn't have any feeling for it at all. Fair enough like

I read the synopsis of Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia. A load of people being killing each other for money and generally being mean. I'd say I'd hate it
 

therealjohnny

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I also met someone a few years ago who had never seen a film. I mean literally .. had never watched a film. And this was a woman in her 60s. TV yes - but had never had the inclination to watch a film. Not even one on TV.

I remember laughing at some footballer who said he didn't like films; thinking how can you not like films? That's like saying I don't like books or stories in general. But then a friend told me he felt the same , explaining that fiction does not interest him at all and the only "film" he would watch would be a factual documentary about something he had an interest in.

I find that mind boggling because it's so different to my own experience.
 

nuke terrorist

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I think there's nothing wrong with that. only you decide what is important.
if you don't like music or drama or cinema - you just don't like it. fair enough.

the Ionesco play The Chairs involves an old couple talking to a host of invisible people -
very difficult one to read.
The Chairs - Wikipedia

as far as BMTHoAG goes, it's what the senselessness of the bounty being put on
Alfredo Garcia causes; spiraling out of control and causing so much suffering and death.
the scene where Bennie (Warren Oates) wakes up in the graveyard is agonizing and
central to the film. a synopsis won't tell you how traumatised he is after that.
 

Lili Marlene

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I'm honestly jealous of people who look at large swathes of human interests and go "Nah, not for me." My main issue is I find it all so fascinating and I never have enough time. I don't really follow sport but it's very much a conscious decision, I love watching it and playing it and... argh
 

nuke terrorist

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I feel nothing for sport but that's different

you are probably better off that way.

I love sport but I could never really explain why.
maybe it's one of the few things I like with mass appeal.

I can 100% understand why someone would think sport is silly.
even I find it hard to understand why it's so popular.

but I will say bad culture is worse than great sport.
 

magicbastarder

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i remember being incredulous at a small ad on our company intranet which read: 'for sale, book token, unwanted gift. face value €30 will accept €25'.
 

egg_

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I'm honestly jealous of people who look at large swathes of human interests and go "Nah, not for me." My main issue is I find it all so fascinating and I never have enough time
I kinda think that's true even if your interests are narrow. I'm not sure it's possible to have a complete knowledge of anything, really, and if you're a creative type you're always going to have more ideas than time to fully implement/explore all of them
 

magicbastarder

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the lads in work have been highly amused at some of the books i've read over the years. a book about salt, or a book about seawater, what have you. i gave them a great chuckle last year when i mentioned i'd just listened to a podcast about concrete.
 

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