Sunday, June 01, 2003

Hurrah for 28 Days Later (just out on DVD), at last a British horror film that I can feel proud of. The opening sequences in a derelict London are some of the best pieces of cinematography I've seen in a while. OK, so it gets a bit ropey towards the end, and the plot is like the three George Romero films merged into one, but I don't care.

When I was aged 15-18, I was obsessed with lots of weird ideas: 1) that I was involved in a Big Brother-type experiment and nothing around me was actually real, 2) that time-travel was possible and any minute now I was going to be visited by my older future self, 3) what I would do if a disease wiped out everyone except me. I was quite miserable at the time and believed that everything would be better in the future... I read everything about the future I could get my hands on, and used to write down predictions about what my life would be that far-in-the-future year 2000. But I was also obsessed with the possibility of the future turning out to be horrible - so I carried around 1984, Farenheit 451 and Brave New World like they were my Bibles.

This was all probably due to self-absorbed adolescent free-floating angst and my choice of movies at the time (Night of the Comet, Day of the Dead, Demons). When The Truman Show came out, I was furious - I'd had that idea years ago!

So 28 Days Later, with an empty Britain, terrorised by zombies is a welcome addition to a horror/sci-fi genre that I've always had a soft spot for. I persuaded the boyfriend to watch it with me last night (he hates horror films so I had to promise to warn him when the nasty bits came on). He had nightmares. Fortunately, I am desensitised so I didn't. It was nice to see my home town mentioned in the film, even if it was just on a motorway sign.

Speaking of my home town, it has been in the National and International Press this week, when a bull literally ran through a china shop. The place in question is called GB antiques and if you ever visit me I will probably take you there without you even asking - it's a huge antique centre which you could spend hours in, selling a mixture of "proper" expensive antique stuff and 1970s pensioner kitsch (I always go for the latter). It's where I found my Blue Lady picture, and quite a lot of my furniture was bought there.

But next door is a livestock auction place, and last week one of the bulls escaped and managed to get inside, wrecking havoc. Sadly, it was killed. Our local newspaper, shocked at actually having a big story to report for once, tut-tutted at the American media who descended on the place and were only interested in exactly how the bull was killed, what calibre weapon was used etc...

And speaking of American-bashing. Last week's episode of Enterprise was another right-wing festival of backward values. The cast encounter a race of aliens who have 3 genders. The third gender is needed for the other two to procreate, but it has a very low social status, treated like a pet. Mr Trip teaches one of them to read and puts the concept of freedom and self-actualisation in its head. The alien claims asylum with the crew of Enterprise. However, shockingly, Captain Archer refuses to grant asylym and the alien kills itself. Then Archer gives Trip a dressing down, telling him what a naughty silly boy he was for interfering in the alien culture and how it was his fault that the alien died. Then the episode ends. The not-so-implicit message being - "don't mess with or criticise other cultures, even when you find their practices abhorrent, although it's OK to trade with them. It's OK for other people to suffer, because they're not US and don't count."

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