Ten guilty pleasures – well, the first five…

I have a sore head. I have damaged my cervical spine (well, did it 18 months ago or maybe even longer ago than that, but it was masked by other things and has chosen now to manifest itself, thanks a bunch, vertebrae) and am beset with headaches and drugs that either don’t work or don’t suit me. Waiting for specialist’s appointment or possibly Dr House. Can’t bend my head. Need something to cheer me up. This got me thinking…

Now, we all have things we love which are either silly, stupid or downright embarrassing and, no, I am not confessing to a deep love of Maggie Thatcher, boy bands or Vesta curry with sultanas in it. But they are also things which comfort us, which make us feel better when we need to snuggle up on the sofa with a blankie and a cup of tea. Things which are, basically, life-enhancing, and boy do I need my life enhancing at the moment. So I’m confessing. It’s good for the soul (allegedly). And a couple of them are even woolly, but there are more than enough for two posts. So here are my first five.

Cover1. Buying more knitting patterns and/or books than anyone could reasonably need or, indeed, fit on their bookcase.

This is my latest addition, and it’s excellent. Yes, there are patterns that I would need a head transplant to contemplate (possibly on the cards at the moment), but there are also some which are yummy and have gone straight on the to-do list. The list which is 85,743,000 miles long, OK? My WIPS (works in progress, for anyone unfamiliar with knitting-addict jargon) are still in single figures, so I may cast something on. When I can bend my head, that is.

2. Comic books.

I love them. This is possibly genetic; they’re an art form in France and there are festivals devoted to bandes dessinées all over the Francophone world. I grew up with Asterix – Breton, freedom fighter, what’s not to like? – but was not allowed Tintin. Dodgy political attitudes, both in the books (Tintin au Congo – eek) and in the author’s past. But who needs boy reporters when you’ve got a whole village-full of stroppy Celts,

windowsill

some of whom live on your kitchen windowsill?

I have an equal addiction to some of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ masters and mistresses of the genre too. Comic strips aren’t that far removed, and I love Peanuts. Posy Simmonds’ work is closer to the froggie tradition and her Tamara Drewe, Gemma Bovary and, for kids as well, the wonderful Fred are masterpieces. I used to be into more conventional comic books but they have fallen by the wayside now. Why, I’m not sure, but give me Gemma Bovary and Asterix any day over Watchmen and superheroes, however dark.

3. Oh, this is really embarrassing. 1950s war films. Colditz story

Preferably featuring John Mills, possibly in a vest. For anyone who doesn’t know the work of John Mills, this is nothing like Bruce Willis in a vest; apart from the vest, which will be dirty, they could not be further apart. But I am discriminating in this choice; there are a lot of terrible 50s war films which do not bear rewatching, and there are the 1960 and 70s variants which are often in colour (no thank you), are much less nuanced, and make no concessions to the fact that they are supposed to be set in the 1940s. I’m thinking Susanna Yorke in Battle of Britain, for example, or Ian McShane – nooooo – in the same film. Wrong. Just wrong.

More / Sink the BismarckNo, lips have to be stiff, the acting might be even stiffer, women are largely absent or silent, and Kenneth More is somewhere in there, possibly in naval uniform. If anyone puts their sherry down on a mantelpiece half-drunk you know they’re not coming back. Similarly, show your mate a shot of your sweetheart and you will be the next one to get it. Own a labrador? Give it away before you take off; it will save time and trouble for the people who have to sort out your effects. And never, ever, send your uniform off for cleaning, because that is completely fatal.

4. Sigh. Nail Varnish.

Paradoxically, I don’t often paint my nails – except in summer, that is, when I do my toenails. When we have summer, that is. But I inherited from my mother a deep love of nail varnish. She, however, was satisfied with always wearing almost the same colour, or clear. I am not.

colour

What I do have, irritatingly, is an ability to buy the same shade and not realise I already have it. To which end I did, at one stage, take to carrying around a little card with coloured splodges on it. It didn’t make much difference; I still bought 37 variations on a theme of brown. Brownish. I have now put a ban  on all further purchases and, above all, there is to be no revisiting of the almost-black shades of red. Not even if they are by Chanel.

5. Ah, yes. James Spader in Boston Legal. boston legal

To anyone (female) who has seen this series, this choice will not seem unusual. Guilty, possibly; unusual, noooo. To any woman who has not seen it, get it. To any blokes, just leave the room, OK? Particularly during the extraordinary closing speeches. Amazing.

A male friend of mine just didn’t get it. ‘He’s fat,’ he objected, ‘and he looks sort of seedy…’. Indeed. That’s kind of the point, dur. Seedy, sexy in a bad way (interpret that as you will), brilliant, intellectual, principled, and did I mention sexy? But Boston Legal isn’t just about James Spader. It’s also got William Shatner and Candice Bergen and more great acting than you can shake a stick at, and more wonderful actors too. It plays with the genre; it’s bright, ironic, sharp, funny, moving, sassy… Yes, parts are dated or were all-too obviously separated by ad breaks in the original. But the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Just perfect for a sore neck.

So, before I embarrass myself further in part 2, what are your guilty pleasures?

Advertisements

38 thoughts on “Ten guilty pleasures – well, the first five…

    1. Pia

      I forgot to mention some guilty pleasures. Hmmm – I don’t tend to feel guilty a lot I think. But cake. Yeah. Like, everyday would be just fine.

      Reply
    2. kate Post author

      I’m beginning to think I may have missed out (though possibly not when it came to Tintin in the Congo…) Tintin was the whole reason why a friend of mine went into journalism!

      Reply
      1. Pia

        I haven’t read them since I was a kid, pre-teen even. I don’t remember that particular infamous album, so I don’t know if I read it. But my memory is not one of racism in general, yes, lots of stereotypes, but that goes for the white people too. The professor, the two very stupid detectives, Captain Haddock – those were the ones I laughed at. Stupid coloured people? Not so much, just language barriers as I saw it. I sure didn’t grow up to be particularly prejudiced. And well, is it more ok to make fun of stupid Romans just because they don’t exist now? How about banning “Life of Brian” for making fun of Christianity? (and womans)

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          Oh, of course Asterix is full of stereotypes too – like any comic book, really, as well as much of life – and so much so that the authors felt the need to include an apologia in Corse, just in case they got stabbed in the night (not sure if it’s in the English edition, but it’s very funny). Maybe the attitude of Asterix just accorded better with my parents’ background, and maybe I can now, as an adult who has finally read Tintin, see more affection in Asterix — but then I’m biased too! In retrospect, I think it was probably Hergé’s (alleged) wartime record that was the deciding factor but I don’t imagine Congo helped…

      2. islandthreads

        my son loved Asterix and Tintin which shows I’m in your parent’s generation, Kate I felt guilty when I read your parents wouldn’t allow you Tintin, was I a bad parent? I haven’t read it maybe I should have, so I’m glad you and Pia had this discussion I feel better now, thank you Pia for settling my mind, Frances

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          No, maybe they were!

          They had their histories and their points of view and I’m sure I’ve inherited the latter. Iwasn’t allowed Enid Blyton either, on grounds of bad writing… but I sneaked those dangerous, forbidden things from friends. You can’t stop kids doing what kids do, and to be fair to my liberal-radical parents, those were the only things I wasn’t allowed. Mind you, there’d probably have been trouble if I’d wanted to join the police, military or National Front.

      3. Pia

        I don’t think my parents would have been aware of what’s good writing. I got my first library card when I was 8, by the time I was 10 I was hauling home stacks of books on a weekly basis and don’t remember anybody taking much notice of what it was. Yes, Enid Blyton too. LOL, maybe I’m the one with the bad parents. Otoh I’ve always been very determined to be ME, so I’m not sure they would have won an argument, I would have just found someplace else to read.

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          One of my great aunts, knowing of the ban, gave me Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog. It immediately became my favourite book which I read until I could recite it, and there wasn’t a damn thing my parents could do about it!

          I’ve always been a stroppy individualist – definitely an inherited trait…

      4. islandthreads

        my parents both belonged to the library and they joined me before I started school, I joined my children before they started school too, we were all avid readers and still are, my grandsons are too, I think the best is probably to read a wide variety of material, children can do a lot worse, Frances

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          One of the great pleasures of my childhood was our weekly visits to the library – Tuesdays, after school. I can still remember how grown up I felt (and confused) when I graduated from the children’s library (in a separate room) to the echoing world of the adults…

      5. Pia

        I agree Frances, such as not reading at all! I can’t imagine a life without books, they can do away with tv for all I care.

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          Oh me too!

          With my back, reading is difficult for me at the moment – finding a comfortable position which doesn’t bring unfortunate consequences – and I’ve never appreciated it more. Have borrowed a music stand and am seeing if I can adapt it! (It works beautifully for knitting patterns.)

  1. Pia

    I have another one: I spend a lot more on Amazon than my SO can imagine. And that’s while really, really restraining myself.

    Reply
  2. islandthreads

    glad your guilty pleasures are keeping you sane Kate,
    my guilt is food I comfort eat way too much, I love comedy both old and new though I tend to prefer the old, books used to be but I have curbed that since my sixteth birthday as I have way too many already, fabric and thread too which have also been curbed, living on an island with less to tempt me shop wise helps though I can do a lot of online window shopping!
    one thing I do since living rural that I guess could be called a guilty pleasure is time to just stop and stare, at the beauty of my surroundings, the night sky or yesterday when in the garden just staring and listening to the stonechat on the dogrose, after so many years rushing around with ‘have to do’s’ I still find this amazing and a little guilty,
    take care, Frances x

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I agree about living in remote place keeping you safe from some temptations (though eBay is dangerously addictive). But I cannot possibly agree that there’s ANYTHING guilty about appreciating where we live. Have to go to Dolgellau this am, will stop halfway along the estuary to gaze at the view – magnificent. Influenced Tolkien, apparently, and not surprised. (The Grey Havens, for any fans.)

      No matter how many to-dos don’t get done, banish guilt there – if you will, I will…

      Reply
      1. islandthreads

        thank you Kate I won’t allow any guilt the next time I stop and stare, I think it is probably shock as much as guilt anyway, I still can’t quite believe I live some beautiful and have the time to enjoy it, being a fulltime working single parent left little time to stop and stare, hope you enjoyed your estuary gazeing, Frances

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          Estuary gazing blurred by rain, but still gorgeous. We are so very lucky to live where we do, and to be able to appreciate it!

  3. sarahbutters

    I watch Doctors every day while I eat my lunch. Hope your neck feels better soon. For what its worth I find the Alexander technique very helpful for a tricky neck.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Now that is a guilty pleasure – though it’s had great reviews, I must give it a go!

      I’d wondered about Alexander; certainly my posture needs improving and there’s a great AT practitioner only 5 miles away… will see what specialist says first, but sounds like a real way to go.

      Reply
  4. Meghan

    When I was a child my mother didn’t allow comic books or cartoons. I was an avid reader and used to frequent several libraries always having my nose in a book. When all the movies come out in the US based on comic book characters I’m always as at a disadvantage. I go to see them with my husband but I never know their back stories or their special powers. I hope your pain is relieved soon. You’re smart to know how to soothe yourself. Isn’t it great to find joy in a skein of yarn or book. I’ve been guilty of that kind of self-medicating for years.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Oh, I’m with you on the missing out thing, because I never had any contact with the Marvel comics superheroes until I was so old that the movies came out first – so it’s not just you (though I have vague memories of a rather strange TV series of Batman, which – looking back – was amazingly camp). Spiderman? ????? Nope, I have to have the backstories explained to me in harsh whispers… either that, or be told them later, in the car, when I’ve lost the will to live.

      It’s a great way of self-medicating, isn’t it?!

      Reply
  5. Meghan

    There was a campy fun Batman tv show in the 60’s with Adam West as Batman. We didn’t have cable as a kid so I only saw a few episodes in the 80’s. I’ve been watching an occasional episode of The Twilight Zone for the first time before I go to bed. Those shows are always excellent. They are such great stories played by well known actors just starting out. I saw a very young Robert Redford playing Death last week. There wasn’t a time that guy wasn’t good looking.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m sure that’s the Batman show I remember…. don;t know The Twlight Zone but it certainly sounds as though I should! Redford as Death – amazing…

      Reply
  6. Meghan

    Twilight Zone was a series of independent morality plays based on a sci fi theme. Written by Rod Serling each episode was a completely different story with many well known actors. It originally aired in the 60s. Really worth a watch. I’m seeing them on a local tv channel that’s showing all old programs. You should be able to view them on line.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’ll have to do a bit of research. If my broadband’s OK (bitter laugh) I can get video working online, so fingers crossed…

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s