Pressured Viewing

Woman of the year publicity photo
Publicity photograph for the film Woman of the Year, featuring its stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Wikimedia Commons.

Once upon a time there was ‘The Movie’. I’ve never tried to work out how many hours I’ve spent watching them (the hours lost that can never be regained), but as a child/stroppy teenager I would slump down in a chair on a Saturday afternoon at around 3pm to watch the Saturday afternoon matinee.

It would greatly annoy my Dad (extra kudos for me playing the bolshy ‘teen’ card), as he had just purchased his first Colour television set and there I was making a mockery of it all by watching Black and White 1930s and 1940s classics.

Eventually a mockery of a compromise was reached – the kids got the old telly and bickered and argued between themselves for viewing rights whilst the ‘Head of the Household’ watched uninterrupted colourful sport…

Still from His girl Friday
Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the 1940 film His Girl Friday. Wikimedia Commons

Edith Head fashion, sumptuous sets, orchestrated Busby Berkeley choreographed extravanzas all in Black and White!! Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Van Heflin, John Wayne, Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn (I could continue ad nauseam but will give you all a break!). It was fantastic.

Fast forward countless years and we have, yet again, ‘The Movie’ – normally taken out of the library for one week. No problem, you would think – given my amazing ability of yesteryear, I could watch the one film countless times – but NO!! Invariably I receive the email gently reminding me that the DVD has to be returned to the library in the next 2/3 days and panic ensues as I haven’t even had time to read the synopsis on the back of the DVD cover.

The number of films and TV series I have had to return without even inserting them into the DVD machine… But now, especially with regard to a TV series, I have a longer time frame to play with:

Two Whole Weeks!!

Until very recently I was watching TV series on DVD such as the Danish production of The Bridge, Shetland, Parade’s End, and Desperate Romantics under immense pressure – two or three episodes a night so that I could return them, haggard and red-eyed, back to the shelves having gone through 3, 4 or even sometimes 5 DVDs in the set.

Times they are a-changing… I’ve even been known to watch in Colour.

What do Hollywood and libraries have in common?

You may not think there is a lot in common between a library and Hollywood.  We may not be as glamorous as the likes of Angelina Jolie or Jamie Dornan, but where would they be without Unbroken and 50 shades of grey?

However it isn’t just books that we have in common, it is our need to keep up with The Next Big Thing, and nothing typifies this more than and diet and exercise industry. You may have just come to grips with the low-fat ideology which has spawned the likes of low-fat bacon for goodness sake, only to now be told now that butter is good!

Paleo is still huge and cavemen everywhere must be beating their clubs with glee as there seems to be a never-ending plethora of books published in this area. Fasting is also popular although having holidayed with someone when they were on their fasting days was a pretty unpleasant experience, and one I don’t wish to repeat. Of course you can also use this time to detox using juices and smoothies, or you could munch your way a plate of raw food. It would seem that actually cooking food is akin to devil worship in some circles!

ECover of Embrace the suckxercise has also gone through a variety of Metamorphoses over the years. Jane Fonda feeling the burn has now been replaced by so-called gyms or  “boxes” where you push around tires and lift heavy chains. Perhaps all that paleo has indeed turned us into cavemen/women?

HIIT is  also big, High Intensity Interval training … gone are the days of slogging it out on the treadmill for hours on end. It’s all fast and intense now, perhaps better for the time hungry?

Craft is another area that is trend focused.  Fancy a bit of scrapbooking/mosaic/ beading? Well actually no, now it is all about quilting, knitting and a side of crochet, and if you branch out into the vintage aspect of things all the better.

Cover of Yarn, yarn, yarnYou may have thought hacking involved some sort of illegal action with computers, however now we have life hacks: Any Procedure or Action That Solves a Problem, Simplifies a Task, Reduces Frustration, Etc. in One’s Everyday Life.

This has been big on social media so we should expect more books on this subject in the next while.

The most popular nude guy in Hollywood

He’s featureless, naked, and holding a sword. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s plated in 24-karat gold and just over a foot tall, he’d be the stuff of nightmares but as the emblem of the Academy Awards, Oscar is the guy that everyone wants.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the Oscars, especially the extravagances of the red carpet, but I’d never really thought about the behind-the-scenes dramas that must play out when you’re putting on the most watched awards show in the world. The egos alone must be hell to juggle. Maybe Oscar is a nightmare after all?

I do like a bit of a Hollywood exposé so I’ve really enjoyed dipping into The big show: High times and dirty dealings backstage at the academy awards. In it author Steve Pond gives an insider’s view of the Oscars, behind the glamour and velvet curtains, with candid backstage photos of some of the film industries biggest names. There’s quite a bit of swearing and a lot of concern over the visibility of nipples (both Julianne Moore’s and Jamie Lee Curtis’s get a mention) among other things and when I watch this year’s ceremony (on Monday 23 February, NZ time), I think I’ll be wondering about all the Academy staffers running around frenetically backstage trying to keep the Oscar beast in check…