There are three things which have been a large part of my life this week. They are The Flight of the Concords, hay fever and two books which have made their way into my mental landscape. The Flight of the Concords is a wonderful show. I love it because it satirises many things I like to make fun of, such as men, women, pop music, homophobia, Australian nationalism, American culture and the idea that consulates do any real work. It also gives me hope that in the USA there are many who have an excellent sense of humour and couldn’t possibly vote for a female version of George Bush. The tracks are quite catchy too.
The hay fever is less welcome. I have itchy eyes, a snotty nose and every morning I wake up feeling unrefreshed and lethargic. The only thing the medication does is dry up my nose for a few hours. Every year it feels like my hay fever is getting worse, and for someone who’s never been allergic to anything, being allergic to spring seems incredibly unfair. I love spring. I also love plants and pride myself on my ethical diet and lifestyle. It seems like nature’s way of saying I’m not a real environmentalist. A real greenie surely wouldn’t have to medicate against flowers.
The books I’ve read are The Book Thief and Reading Lolita in Tehran. One novel, one autobiography. Both beautiful and a little self-indulgent. I loved The Book Thief from the first page when I realised it was written from the viewpoint of Death. There’s something about this device I find incredibly comforting. The idea that Death has a consciousness makes it so comprehensible and less alien. It would be so good to believe that Death cared about us, that when we die in terrible ways or simply when we die, that there is some being who notices it and registers the horror of it. Anyway I loved the book from then on. The other thing about it was that it was an unashamed celebration of books, as was the second book I read Reading Lolita in Tehran. Both books reminded me of the power of words to make life bearable, in fact even to give it meaning.
Now the lovely Kate B has given me Persepolis which is a perfect sequel to Reading Lolita in Tehran. There’s so much I don’t know about that part of the world. I love the way that learning about it is like watching a map become detailed while I look at it, things are illuminated I didn’t know were in the dark. I’m starting to understand something about Islam and women. The benefit of knowing very little about a subject is that it’s a perfect excuse to spend hours reading about it.