Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Six of the best

Whilst meandering around the lovely raptureponies' site earlier, I noticed she'd added me to her list of tags for this meme, with only the subtlest of nudges from me in her direction.
It's basically just a list of six things that float your boat. I'm in lousy form today so having to think of the things I like most in the world sounds like the perfect antidote.

1. Dumb 80s comedies, particularly the Police Academy movies.

Zed was something of a hero to me.

I nearly started jumping around in joy about a year ago when I walked into a Virgin Megastore and found a load of the movies on DVD in a '3 for €30' deal, as I only had dodgy video recordings off the telly. The sales assistant told me that they'd been flying off the shelves, which pleased me immensely.

2. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith.

I've always meant to post about these books and here is the perfect opportunity to do so. When I first heard of them the 'ladies' part of the title made me dismiss them as chick-lit. How very wrong I was. Having finally persuaded to read them, I think by my big sister (thanks sis!), I was made happy in a way no book has ever managed before. These books spin enough of a yarn to keep you interested, but it is the central characters of Precious Ramotswe, Grace Makutsi and Mr. JLB Matekoni and their inherent decency and humour that keep me coming back to learn more of their lives in the the Botswanan capital of Gaborone.

Having lived for several years in an African country I think I simply recognised the writer's supreme skill in capturing the values, pace of life and optimism that are unique to Africa. There are now nine books in this series and I've read and loved them all.

The Guardian has one of it's very clever digested reads done for one of the more recent books, Blue Shoes and Happiness. It summarises the book in one line as being "much ado about nothing". In many ways this is an accurate assessment, as these books are often concerned with the very ordinariness of daily life and it's trivial concerns. Of course, the books also heavily touch upon AIDS, domestic violence and the emergence of womens' rights in Southern Africa. Just not in a bombastic way. Which is nice.

The books have already been turned into a TV series, the pilot of which was shown on BBC on Easter Sunday. The rest of the series is due to be shown fairly soon, I think.

3. The Sea

No, not the book by John Banville, I'm not that pretentious. Just the sea. I've been reminded of just how much I love it this summer by probably spending more time in it than I ever have before. When I was a young fella I was a skinny little whippet and found swimming in the sea in Ireland too much to bear for more than a couple of minutes. I was fortunate enough that some of my childhood was spent in a country on the Indian Ocean, which is like a warm bath at any time of year. And as I've got older and fatter I've learnt to tolerate the Irish Sea and have grown to like it (though I would maintain that swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in Cork or the west coast is marginally warmer). this summer I realised that if you go to the beach at around six or seven in the evening there is unlikely to be anyone else there and it's still reasonably warm. If it's very calm and there's no-one else around you can swim out quite far and feel like you are the only person on the face of the earth, which can be a lovely feeling for a couple of minutes. Then, one's reverie can be broken by a curious seal popping it's head up to suss you out or one's handsomely enthusiastic dog swimming out to join one.

Last Sunday morning I had a new experience of the sea when, after a night of merriment in Darren and Lottie's place, several of us headed down to Greystones beach to watch the sun rise. of course, sunrise occurs when it wants to rather than when Lottie says it should but 'twas still glorious. I will now steal photographic evidence of this event from McG's page.

At this point I am the one closest to the camera and the only one not in the sea. Moments later clothes were shed and I joined two other eejits for a full-on swim. Thank Christ Anthony has chosen not to post the evidence on his blog.

So, yeah, the sea definitely floats my boat. I imagine there's a lot of boats floating on it.

4. Cups of tea and chats with my bro.

I now come to the more sentimental half of this post. I've never quite fully broken away from home in the manner a man of my age ought to have done. There are various reasons for this but one of them is definitely the fact that my younger brother hasn't either. He's my best friend and the hours that we have spent late at night having a cup of tea and a chat are running into the gasquillions at this stage. It's a mix of talk about sports (ones we play and ones we watch), stuff we like on TV, how handsome the dog is, people we've met and liked (those we don't like aren't important enough to be mentioned) and whatever needs to be brought up. There is less talk about ladies and sexy time than one might imagine. The conversation is often not particularly personal but it can swing from being about the majesty of Police Academy 3 to matters of intense regret without a discernible change in mood or a clamming-up on the part of either one of us. And it always feels essential that we have these chats.

As long as I don't fuck up the tea.

5. The comfy spot

There's a point, right where my chest muscle meets my left shoulder directly above my armpit, where my lady loves to put her head when I'm lying beside her. If I stroke her hair she can be asleep within seconds, no matter what time of day it is. And when she falls asleep, I will inevitably follow. The great thing about this spot is that, no matter what problems we may have encountered, a few minutes of her head resting on the comfy spot will always put things into perspective.

6. Baxter

This is Emanuel, or Ema, an orphan found abandoned in a bush and taken to Newlands orphanage in Moshi, northern Tanzania. I call him Baxter because our conversations were much like the ones between Ron Burgundy and his dog of that name. He speaks much wisdom but I couldn't always understand it. Among a group of wonderful, life-affirming children Baxter stood out for his brightness and character and for the plain and simple reason that we bonded in a big way. He is a truly special child and if it were in any way possible and I thought it was the right thing for him then he would be here with me right now. But I think about him every day and I'll see him again.

Right, I think I'm supposed to tag people at this point but I think most people I like have been tagged already. Little Miss, do yours now. Darragh, I can't remember if you've done one. Rosie, feel free to give it a go if you like. Mary, have you done this one? And my dear cousin, get your blog groove back on again and give this a stab.

That was fun.

5 comment(s):

Darragh said...

*adds to lists of memes to do*

Cheers sir, will do so :)

Anonymous said...

'eejit' is being nice about it really ;)

Good gaming however in movie quiz - I take second place gratefully.

Anonymous said...

Great entry Andrew. I have the other photos from the beach, they're on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonymcg

I too love Police Academy 3: http://www.anthonymcg.com/archives/2007/04/19/zed-from-police-academy-3/

Anonymous said...

show me someone who doesn't like Police Academy, and i'll point to them and shout weirdo in my loudest voice!

Andrew said...

darragh - you better had.

Damnyoumaybury - Without Ricochet playing it was kinda like winning an olympic gold medal if China, the USA, Australia and Russia had refused to enter.

Anto - cheers. Not sure I want to see the pictures, though. And I love all the Academies, not just 3. Many of Zed's finest moments were in 2 and 4. Looking forward to checking out that post.

RPs - And you'd be right.