Monday, November 01, 2004

"Never be ill in your own time.
- Human Resources"
Sage advice I completely ignored this weekend. I succumbed to a throat infection on Thursday afternoon and on the dot of me putting on my coat to leave the office on Friday afternoon, I sneezed and realised that I was actually quite (very) ill. Parked myself on the sofa the second I got in to the flat and stayed there until Sunday evening, hacking, coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose and wiping my streaming eyes. I was truly miserable. And I still am, though operating without the chills in my bones or the roaring ear infection - still "sleeping" sitting up to avoid choking but on the mend, I think.

What doesn't help is how angry being ill makes me - when I'm enfeebled and weak, I get very annoyed with myself and have long, pointless internal monologues along the lines of "...what do you mean you can't breathe through that nostril? That's fucking useless, that is... and so is that aching hip joint, it shouldn't be hurting, it has nothing to do with your cold! Pathetic! Why do you have to make so much mucus in your lungs and in your nose anyway? You don't need that much, and look what trouble it causes when you drop your guard and allow in a cold...how could you let your immune system get into such a state? Why weren't you taking better care of yourself - you knew there were people in the office with colds...etc etc" At least I managed to keep myself entertained as I lay, catatonic, under my blanket in front of the TV.

As I was ill and therefore incapable of anything else, I managed to watch three and a half films this weekend, two of them films I have been wanting to watch but never had time to until Disease offered me the opportunity: The Hours and Belleville Rendezvous, plus The Day After Tomorrow and half All the President's Men before I passed out and snored, fast asleep, through the rest of it.

The Hours is a tremendous film, very very very deep and subtle and has the added bonus of a Philip Glass score which binds together the three stories in the film very cohesively and comprehensively. The DVD had a very good interview with Glass who described the score as a character in the film who was present in every scene and contributed something without being seen to do it - and it's quite amazing how much his music adds to a film that could easily have split the three stories very distinctly and could well have unfolded as a chirpy, female-orientated Shortcuts or Magnolia. Instead, The Hours is fluid, bold and doesn't waste any time on charming the audience or trying to win our sympathy - these women are all trapped in their own unhappiness and seek ways to escape it, to be free of it on their own terms. Performances are strong and again, not seeking sympathy but cry out for empathy - and I loved this film, I felt like I was watching something very special, very true.

Belleville Rendezvous
was a refreshing jolly film to watch after the emotional wringer of The Hours and was delightful, witty, completely lovable without the knowing comedy of other animated films like Shrek and Toystory. I think that's what was so charming about it; there was barely any dialogue and no sarcasm or spite in it whatsoever. It wasn't as uplifting or breathtaking as Spirited Away but doesn't really warrant comparison with such a fantastical film; this was much more down to earth and besides, was very French and therefore a completely different kettle of fish. A good choice for a Sunday afternoon, I thought.

The Day After Tomorrow
was highly recommended by Mr Election Frenzy Taxloss and we watched it together, scoffing at all the bad science and gasping awe regardless at all the dramatic bad weather - and the weather is bad. A good diversion. Had to drape the blanket closer around me throughout.

So I watched films, finished reading Cold Comfort Farm (great book! Thanks Boatie Flatmate, I loved it! I can see why so many people have been recommending it to me for so long... like a female Evelyn Waugh writing Decline and Fall - fantastic fun...) had to buy more toilet roll for my nose, missed a Halloween party, guzzled Anadin, Lemsip, honey and lemon, oranges, pie, stew and Maltesers, crept around the flat surreptitiously sniffing bottles of hand cream and perfume and socks and jars of horseradish trying to gauge how much of my sense of smell I had recovered (none, after all that experimenting) and had The Beloved worryingly wipe my fevered brow a few times.

I was going to end this entry by saying emphatically that I really, really, really hate being ill. But having written up this quick summary on how my weekend with a cold has been... I don't think it would be entirely true to say so.

How have you been?

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