Day spent revising graphic novels and psychogeography for the exam. I’ve also been reading about ‘Hauntology’, a Derrida term reclaimed by Mark Fisher to use instead of psychogeography, for instance when describing Laura Oldfield Ford’s book, Savage Messiah.  He uses it along with Simon Reynolds  to denote a theorised ‘end of history’ trend in music as well as writing: ‘mourning for lost utopias’.

Article by Andrew Gallix on hauntology


Candid photo of me taken by Travis Elborough at the Aubin Cinema the other day. I’m in the middle of talking to Alex Mayor about, oh I don’t know, ‘failing upwards’ or some such Whit Stillman quote. We were about to watch Damsels In Distress, the new Stillman film.







I like the photo, even though it’s my Not So Good Side. I never did learn to fully love the constellation of little moles on my right cheek. Always thought they look vaguely like a join-the-dots puzzle of Bonnie Langford. I even went to see an NHS plastic surgeon about them, once, when I was about 20. He pretty much laughed me out of the room, saying they weren’t worth worrying about.

And yet… One thinks of standards of acceptable facial imperfections. In fact, it reminds me that Analeigh Tipton, one of the main actresses in Damsels In Distress, has a faint  scar around one side of her mouth.

What’s unusual is that not only has her scar not been covered up with make-up (as I tend to with my moles when properly being photographed), but the director, Whit Stillman, often seems to focus on it, lovingly, as if making a point. It’s like a sweeter version of that much maligned cinematic theory, the Male Gaze. Ms Tipton is already extremely beautiful, and the scar stops her being boringly beautiful.

A little bit of Googling reveals that she started a career in modelling, but was soon dropped by her agency. Because of the scar. ‘So many people in the fashion industry were like, ‘We’re so sorry that happened to your face.’ 

One thinks of Cindy Crawford making a trademark out of her mole. Why is a scar worse?

Still, up yours, fashion.


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The Charm Of The College Flick

Wednesday: Last research day spent in libraries, for the essay on gendering literature. I seem to have developed an unusually sensible inner voice for the essay process. It tells me exactly when it’s time to stop researching and start knocking the first draft into shape, while still allowing for time to do further drafts and polishing. The most important thing about this voice is that I appear to be listening to it.

Also today: I meet Charley Stone for lunch in the café in Russell Square. The café is old fashioned and non-franchise, something which is getting increasingly rare in central London. There are rumours the Olympics are going to shut down whole squares like this, making them into temporary media bases for the duration.

Charley and I chat about My Bloody Valentine, whose remastered Creation back catalogue seems to be finally coming out next week, four years late. She mentions an interview with Kevin Shields where he talks about the remastering in highly technical terms, at least for the average musician. But of course Mr Shields is no average musician:

Evening: To the Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch – Zone 1’s smallest single-screen cinema for new releases. Very comfortable it is, too: they give you foot stalls in the front row, so you can pretty much lie down. Also present: Alex Mayor, Travis E, Emily B, John Noi.

We see Damsels In Distress, the new Whit Stillman film. I’m such a huge fan of his debut, Metropolitan, and loved The Last Days Of Disco, the last film he managed to make, which was about fifteen years ago. Damsels isn’t up there with those two, I feel, but it’s as good as Barcelona, his mid-90s film. Same uniquely old-fashioned and deliberately stagey dialogue, same bookish quips about broken hearts, but not quite enough character depth and narrative flow compared to Metropolitan and Disco. Still, I laughed a lot, which is usually a good sign for a comedy. And as films about US college students speaking in stylised retorts go, I far prefer Damsels over The Social Network. Damsels has its faults, but more than makes up for them with sheer charm. Plus there’s a glimpse of a class on Ronald Firbank, always a good thing in my book.

Mayoral election tomorrow. It is upsetting to think that thousands of Londoners might vote for a right wing Mayor once again, mistaking a buffoonishly inept but entertaining dinner party guest for a capable governor of the most complicated metropolis on earth. Still, one must remain optimistic. It’s not as if Boris Johnson will vanish from public life if he loses – he’ll be back guest presenting Have I Got News For You within days. Which is really why the celebrity-obsessed voted for him last time, after all. And where he should have stayed.

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