Monday, January 01, 2007
For New Year's Day Dean and I went to see Stephen Frears' The Queen. What a wonderful little movie. Helen Mirren virtually channels Elizabeth in the days following the death of Princess Diana. She deserves a medal for her spot-on, heart-wrenching, ironic, dead-pan, and good-humored performance. The news footage and reenactments of the events leading to Diana's death, and it's aftermath, are incredibly moving: this viewer was almost in tears. Prince Charles is a total dork, mincing about and kow-towing to the Queen by taking his sons out hunting to Balmore Castle in Scotland in the days following their mother's sudden death. James Cromwell of Six Feet Under fame, perfectly cast as the Queen's consort Prince Philip, prances about in a kilt with his skinny legs, goes off to sleep in his own room, swears and hunts and bad-mouths Di. And what about Tony Blair: I did not remember he was a newly elected still-wet-behind-the-ears Prime Minister in his first months in office when Diana was killed. His handling of the situation ("She was the People's Princess"), and his often-conflicted advice to the bumbling cold-hearted Royal Family, probably helped save the monarchy from abolishment. In the end, this is Mirren's movie. She is a revelation. Amazing. Only she could make me again love the Queen. I'd kiss her ring in a minute. Go see it. You know you love these silly royals.
New Year's Eve we went to the neighborhood burn at Bradner Park: an old oil barrel bonfire, where we all gathered to toss in remnants from the year: a photo of Rumsfield shaking hands with Saddam, a magazine cover of our idiot president George Bush, someone's old medical records, a wooden frog from Thailand, a beat-up pinata, etc. Clare was shooting at the pyre with his gasoline squirt gun and causing huge flames to roar. Such a show!
Reading in the new issue VQR: a wonderful set of essays on the Lyric Poem, as well as some wonderful poems by friends Allen Braden ("Details of the Four Chambers of the Horse's Heart") and C Dale ("Sepsis").