Sunday, May 21, 2006

MSA doc

I am finally working on the MSA documentary! All of the footage has been captured, which took many trips and took me about a week. 11 tapes. Had more of 2nd semester been taped, it would've probably been 15. I'd probably would have gotten done capturing today. Ah well, there were just simply too many events. I've roughly edited about 5 events and its already 13 minutes! So perhaps its good more events were not taped.

While capturing the tapes for the eid dinner, a lot of Azhar Usman's jokes got stuck in my head. He wasn't great but he was funny, for desis.

On Indian films: "Noo one is supposed to know about this relationship! No one! It's a secret! Forbidden lowe!! THAT'S why they go dancing in the field!"

He did some great impersonations of aunties on the phone - you can tell he's Bihari.

On desi weddings: "Humgama! Tamasha! All those parties and arrangements and food and people and decorations and invitations and who knows what else, just to make two people happy. The two moms".

The fella's a big guy, with a big beard. On airplane rides: "I swear, one time, this guy came up to me and said '(laughing)...oh man, I was so scared! I thought you were gonna kill us! (continues to laugh) ohh geez, when you went to the bathroom, I was bout to stab you! For crying out loud!' For crying out loud! For crying out loud..that is the whitest expression ever. You'd never hear a black person say 'Hey for crying out loud man!"

Well, it was funny at the time.

Friday, May 05, 2006

George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London"

"Nevertheless, he was a good fellow, generous by nature and capable of sharing his last crust with a friend; indeed he did literally share his last crust with me more than once. He was probably capable of work too, if he had been well fed for a few months. But two years of bread and margarine had lowered his standards hopelessly. He had lived on this filthy imitation of food till his own mind and body were compounded of inferior stuff. It was malnutrition and not any native vice that had destroyed his manhood". page 153.

"When we got into London we had eight hours to kill before the lodging-houses opened. It is curious how one does not notice things. I had been in London innumerable times, and yet till that day I had never noticed one of the worst things about London - the fact that it costs money even to sit down. In Paris, if you had no money and could not find a public bench, you would sit on the pavement. Heaven knows what sitting on the pavement would lead to in London - prison, probably. By four we had stood five hours, and our feet seemed red-hot from the hardness of the stones. We were hungry, having eaten our ration as soon as we left the spike, and I was out of tobacco - it mattered less to Paddy, who picked up cigarette ends. We tried two churches and found them locked. Then we tried a public library, but there were no seats in it..."
"...stood two more hours on the street corner. It was unpleasant, but it taught me not to use the expression 'street corner loafer', so I gained something from it". page 154-155.

"You'll never get a drop off real toffs. It's a shabby sort of blokes you get most off, and foreigners. I've had even sixpences off Japs, and blackies, and that. They're not so bloody mean as what an Englishman is. Another thing to remember is to keep your money covered up, except perhaps a penny in the hat. People won't give you anything if they see you got a bob or two already". page 163, from Bozo the screever (pavement artist).

Bozo: "Not a great lot. I know a bit, though. I got two letters from the Astronomer Royal thanking me for writing about meteors. Now and again I go out at night and watch for meteors. The stars are a free show; it don't cost anything to use your eyes".
"What a good idea! I should never have thought of it."
"Well, you got to take an interest in something. It don't follow that because a man's on the road he can't think of anything but tea-and-two-slices."
"But isn't it very hard to take an interest in things - things like stars - living this life?"
"Screeving, you mean? Not necessarily. It don't need turn you into a bloody rabbit - that is, not if you set your mind to it."
"It seems to have that effect on most people."
"Of course. Look at Paddy - a tea-swilling old moocher, only fit to scrounge for fag-ends . That's the way most of them go. I despise them. But you don't need to get like that. If you've got any education, it don't matter to you if you're on the road for the rest of your life."
"Well, I've found just the contrary," I said. "It seems to me that when you take a man's money away he's fit for nothing from that moment."
"No, not necessarily. If you see yourself to it, you can live the same life, rich or poor. You can still keep on with your books and your ideas. You jsut got to say to yourself 'I'm a free man in here'" - he tapped his forehead- "and you're all right."
"Bozo talked further in the same strain, and I listened with attention. He seemed a very unusual screever, and he was, moreover, the first person I had heard maintain that poverty did not matter." page 164-165.

"Below screevers come the people who sing hymns, or sell matches, or bootlaces, or envelopes containing a few grains of lavender- called, euphemistically, perfume. All these people are frankly beggars, exploiting an appearance of misery, and none of them takes on average more than half a crown a day. The reason why they have to pretend to sell matches and so forth instead of begging outright is that this is demanded by the absurd English laws about begging. As the law now stands, if you approach a stranger and ask him for twopence, he can call a policeman and get you seven days for begging. But if you make the air hideous by droning "Nearer, my God, to Thee," or scrawl some chalk daubs on the pavement, or stand about with a tray of matches - in short, if you make a nuisance of yourself - you are hold to be following a legitimate trade and not begging. Match-selling and street-singing are simply legalised crimes. Not profitable crimes, however; there is not a singer or match-seller in London who can be sure of 50 pounds a year - a poor return for standing eighty-fours a week on the kerb, with the cars grazing your backside." page 172.

"It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level." page 181.

About a hundred tramps go to a church, where they are fed. Some split, others stay for the service, the narrator says, because they didn't have the guts to leave. They're up in the balconies above the regular congregation, and are very loud and rude:

"The scene had interested me. It was so different from the ordinary demeanor of tramps - from the abject worm-like gratitude with which they normally accept charity. The explanation, of course, was that we outnumbered the congregation and so were not afraid of them. A man receiving charity practically always hates his benefactor - it is a fixed characteristic of human nature; and, when he has fifty or a hundred others to back him, he will show it." page 184.

I disagree with Orwell with the above statement. I don't think that beneficiaries always hate those who give aid to them.

"...there is no essential difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said - but then, what is work? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course - but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout - in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethicial ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him".
"Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised? - for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that is shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except "Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it"? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a business man, getting his living, like other business men, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich". pages 173-174.

That's all.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

reality vs. escape

Films are definetely an escape. Entertainment in general, is an escape.
I mean isn't that why, when films were first being made, simultaneously in many countries, the masses flocked to the cinema? To escape their everyday, ordinary lives? To escape their harsh realities?
Films are an escape. Even if they're realist, or true stories, or political, or meant to be taken as a message, they provide an escape for 2-3 hours from your real life. You can sit there and stare at the screen, and totally be absorbed by what you're seeing and hearing. Your real life does not matter when this occurs, only what's in front of you.
This also happens with books. The fun kind though, not the history or textbook kind.

How many times have we all wished that we could escape our realities and live what we see, hear, or read instead? Or even just a compromise of that?
Is entertainment an escape? From your present, from your reality, from your surroundings?
I think it can be, but not always, because sometimes films smack me hard in the face and wake me up. But most of the time, they're an escape. The definite escape.