Saturday, 7 May 2011

Spanish Cine At Its Best

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Who is he?
A wonderful director, who's films, will never leave you feeling indifferent. 
Dark, seductive, violent and sexual..
They pull you in deeper, almost intoxicating you with their intensity. Showing beauty, where you would least expect to find it, and treating you to an emotional work, out so strong that it will stay with you for a long time.  Even if you are not familiar with the Spanish language, I guarantee you will not notice, or care that you are reading the subtitles.

"21 Grams"

I love the humanity he brings to his characters, their vulnerability and the unpredictability of the story.  The good guy is not necessarily going to win, you are not watching a fairy tale. It is like viewing a snippet of daily life, from an area where normally, you would dare not tread.  Yet, that is what holds the fascination for you.  One that you cannot walk away from, until he releases you.

"Love's a Bitch"

If you have not seen any of his movies I would highly recommend that you do.
Maybe, begin with his English Language films, such as "Babel", featuring Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett, it also stars one of his most popular castings Gael Garcia Bael, a talented mexican actor. He also directed "21 Grams" starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro, both fantastic films.

Gael Garcia Bernal

My first introduction to his world, was with the Spanish language film “Amores Perros” ( Love’s a Bitch) again starring Gael Garcia Bernal.  A film with over lapping story lines, almost shockingly violent and yet combined with romance, it has an extremely edgy feel to it, which makes it addictive viewing. 

Javier Bardem

Recently I viewed  “Biutiful” starring Javier Bardem of "Eat Pray Love fame".  A story based in the poorest districts of Barcelona, tackling many issues, from illegal immigrants making counterfeit goods, corruption and a dying man who is trying to get his life in order.... 
Yes, I did tell you it was dark, but, seductively so.
Especially thanks to its leading man.

"Live Flesh"

If you want to sample Spanish cinema, but prefer something a little less intense.  I would suggest you check out Pedro Almodovar.
His films were my first introduction and since the two have always seemed, synonymous.

"Tacones Altos"

The film I saw was "High Heels", starring Miguel Bose and Victoria Abril.
I adored it immediately and consequently devoured, every movie he has ever made.  Another favourite was "Live Flesh" featuring Penelope Cruz and starring Javier Bardem with Angelina Molina, a wonderful Spanish screen actress.

Angela Molina

I love the dark humour of his films and their "Spanish-ness"..
I can "feel" them.. 
This is the only way I can describe, just exactly, how they affect me.  He manages to conjure up the essence of the Spanish people,  reminding me of my time spent living there.

Penelope Cruz

I loved "Volver"  dark, humorous and beautiful... and that is not just due to Ms Cruz who played the lead and who now appears to be one of his favourite artists, along with Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem, all now Hollywood favourites too.  If you are bored of the usual, I strongly recommend you indulge in a little Spanish Cinema.

Antonio Banderas

Monday, 21 March 2011

World Poetry Day

My son, who encouraged me to write

Today being World Poetry Day and being an aspiring poet myself, I thought I would share with you my favourite poem.
Why is it my favourite poem?
Because it reminds me of my father, he loved these words so much and would often recite it for me.  I find it inspiring and as poignant today, as when it was written.
My favourite poem is.........If by Rudyard Kipling

What is your favourite poem?

My Own Poetry Corner: "Desire To Be Still"- Wildernesschic Poetry.. My poetry blog, if you would like to take a peak.. I would love to hear what you have to say xx

Monday, 14 March 2011

Female Masturbation.....The Ultimate Taboo

Last night I happened to glance at "The Vagina Monologues" on Television.
I was struck at how cleverly it was written and performed and how things have changed so much, even just within the last twenty years.  

I was advised by an older lady only last week, not to go and see "The Black Swan" .. 
When I asked why, I was told that the ballet was beautiful and the story was good, but there was an awful sex scene in it. 
Being me, I giggled and said "Oh that sounds fun, what was so bad about it"
"It was disgusting, it wasn't normal .. it showed a person having sex with themselves".. 
The poor woman was so disgusted by this scene, she couldn't even use the word masturbation, or maybe she didn't know the correct terminology. 

I was brought up under a strict Irish Catholic influence, which even the use of tampons was frowned upon.  Masturbation especially female masturbation, was just a taboo subject.  It was something we all did it, but we would never dare admit to it.  At the tender age of  twelve, I remember being handed a booklet by my mother,  The purpose of this was to explain to young girls about puberty, the menstrual cycle and eventually sex after marriage.. the object of which was procreation and not an act of pleasure.

I remember distinctly that the pamphlet warned me not to use internal sanitary protection, as it could lead to me loosing my breaking my Hymen and so losing my virginity.  As my Hymen had already been lost due to a bad fall on my roller skates, I was not particularly worried about that.  I also had enough sense to know, that your breaking your Hymen and loosing your virginity were totally different things.  What did concern me though, was a whole chapter on pleasuring oneself. 

The author of the book went on to explain, that to touch ones "Pleasure Centres" was something to be avoided..I am not exactly sure of the exact wording as it was so long ago, I just know it was something along those cryptic lines....It continued, that should however you do so, you were to make sure you did not continue until orgasm, as this process would ruin you, and any chance of a healthy future sexual relationship with your husband..
I had no idea then as to what an orgasm was, but being the total rebel and inquisitive young girl that I was,  I fully intended to find out.

I am not going to give anybody a cheap thrill here, we all know how this is achieved and if you don't there are many porn blogs and self help sites available.  What I do want to show you though, is an insight into how easily religion and its ridiculous rules can damage a young persons attitude to their body and future relationships.  

When I did discover how to "Make the earth move"... although it was a most wonderful feeling, the pleasure was short lived as I was immediately struck with fear of fire and brimstone.  I thought I had broken my body, it would not stop twitching, so I prayed to Jesus....
" Please God if you would just fix me I will never do it again.... I swear "
Jesus answered my prayer, as I calmed and everything returned to normal.  I then lay there in horror and cried, as I was sure that I had ruined myself for the rest of my life.
I did not however keep my promise to him, what I had discovered was something far to good to leave alone.

Looking back on this dreadful literature, although it is not as barbaric as the mutilation of the female clitoris, performed in other religions, it could have achieved a very damaging psychological circumcision.  Surely if you have a part of your anatomy with so many thousands of nerve endings, something so entirely natural, that can give you so much pleasure, something that doesn't harm anyone, that costs nothing and makes you feel so wonderful. Then surely it has to be a good thing and not an evil thing. Yet listening to this older lady, I wonder how many woman were not able to see past this propaganda.

I wonder how many women have been damaged permanently by this way of thinking?
How many marriages are ruined because, sex is just for baby making and one should not be seen to enjoy it.  The poor men that must go crazy for good sex, as their partners have taught themselves not to enjoy it.  Women who deem sex to be wrong or dirty, and to perform oral sex must be akin to signing a pact with Lucifer. 

I feel especially sorry for all those poor catholic widows the world over, who have to keep their vibrators hidden from themselves and daren't accidentally slip whilst moisturising their bodies....just incase they break it.


Friday, 4 March 2011

Passion Killer

Why is it so hard to write about passion?
I can write about depression and suicide with an alarming ease.  I can write about overwhelming joy and great love ..
Yet the ability to express the emotion of passion, the deep sexual kind of passion, seems to evade me.  I started to write a poem last night. I was sat alone, in front of a roaring fire with only a large glass of red wine keeping me company. Wanting to write a poem, I decided that I would try a new direction, I am normally such a dark poet. To write a poem about seduction and making love would be a challenge and something new for me.

So far everything I write sounds weak, cheap, crap and naff..

I cannot understand why, I am a sexy girl, with an extremely passionate nature.
Please do not think I am being egotistical here. If anyone was to ask me if I thought of myself a beauty, I was probably say no, as I do not think of myself as beautiful, I have far too many flaws.  Although I am fully aware that I am sexy and of the power that brings.  The other day my friend and I were discussing men over coffee. We were analysing which men we found attractive and sexy and in comparison, those who we thought should be so, but for some reason are not.   So I obviously have no issues with verbalising my desires, nor do I have issues with fantasising about them.  I know exactly what I like and the type of people I am drawn to, so it's not even a question of my own ignorance.

I do wonder however, if the reason has anything to do with the fact I have been with the same man for so long, over twenty years now.  Not that in any way have I have forgotten what passion is, but maybe I feel a little uncomfortable about expressing it on paper, almost as though I was being unfaithful or indiscreet.  Betraying him by verbalising my emotions and desires or maybe I am scared that he would just laugh..

As last night, under the soporific influence of the red wine, I had drifted off to sleep...
Leaving my notes on sex open ...
Where he had hijacked my words and had large type

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Happiness is......

It's early Sunday morning, it is cold, raining and I am recovering from yesterdays migraine, yet I feel  happy, extremely happy.  Not in a manic sense of hyper excitement, no this is more a deeply contented feeling of love.  I am smiling from the inside out and my desire to write has returned.

Something has happened within my brain chemistry, it is almost as if somebody has flicked a switch.  Where there was great darkness and agitation, there is now light and warmth. Clarity has replaced confusion and the sensation of being lost, manic and without purpose has disappeared, in its place is a calm contentment that is allowing the negative emotions to wash over me and disappear.  The simple joys of life are once again touching my soul.

The colour of the spring crocus filling my lawn and the daffodils waiting to burst open, bringing with them that fabulous golden colour of spring.  The wonderful sound of the river as it passes my house, slightly fuller after last nights rain fall, taking with it any remnants of my negativity.
I am seeing beauty all around me, and the simplest things are filling my soul with joy.

Sleepily making my sons breakfast, before he leaves for an away game and kissing his head, breathing him in, loving him so much, that I could burst.
The sight of my golden puppy bounding across the field playing with his mother.  My hens run to greet me, waddling with fluffy feet and flapping their wings in an effort to get to me faster.  All these things I experience every day, yet almost as if I am sleep walking through it, emotionless, numb.  Today though, I see them and feel great joy in doing so, I think this sensation is what the Buddhist's call "Being Awake" or "Awareness"

 I wish I knew the secret, to be able to feel like this every day would be amazing, to be able to share this sensation with others, to feel connected to one another.  To be without suspicion and envy, to feel love and to reach out to one another with genuine empathy and compassion.  Surely that is how we are meant to live..

Sunday, 13 February 2011


A guest post from my good friend, the Wildernesschic ......To Be Lost  please pop over and give her you opinions on her new poem.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Aiport

I was snuggled tight under my shawl, and as close to Paco as I could get, breathing him in, his wonderful smell, which was now so deeply familiar and always comforting. Yet still, I could not get warm, or fall asleep.  The air conditioning on this plane was just too cold and there was a young child sat behind me, who had been kicking relentlessly at my seat for the past hour.  Then the announcement was came, which made my heart sink........ 
Birmingham, we were being diverted to Birmingham, it was mid February and winter was in full flow, with freezing cold temperatures making conditions unsuitable to land in Manchester. 

We had been traveling for hours already, having flown from Tenerife to Barcelona, then to Madrid, before this connection to Manchester.  Iberia was like a bus service in those days, there wasn't such a thing as a scheduled direct flight from the Canary Islands to the UK.  We were feeling beyond exhausted, our bodies rebelling to the cramped plane seating and lack of decent food.  The eighteen hours of traveling beginning to take its toll and the joint we had shared, whilst in Madrid had long worn off, leaving us feeling more than just a little irritated.  
The airport was like a ghost town, cold and echoey, I had an uneasy sickly feeling unable to say exactly what was wrong, I shuddered, we were used to equator temperatures maybe I was feeling shocked by the difference, plus travel exhaustion did not help. The luggage carousel at least seemed efficient, it wasn’t long before I could see our lovely new bags making their way around towards us.  I have always had a thing about nice luggage, and had bought a new suit carrier with matching holdall for our visit, home. we were traveling light as this trip was only for a week. 
We began to walk towards the green corridor, along with everyone else, its funny, nobody ever had anything to declare and those who did usually took their chances, I did not see one person move towards the red corridor.  Normally there would be very few staff on duty at this time of night, but tonight there was a long line of them.  Customs officers standing extremely straight with blank expression, stood behind tables surveying us.  Checking out the "The ragged travellers," observing our every movement, and then calling over every second couple to interview.  This was so unusual, normally they waved you through, holiday makers don’t normally warrant such attention. 
That uneasy feeling I had continued to grow, desperately trying to look directly ahead, I attempted an image of cool nonchalance, yet unfortunately catching the eye of a rather rotund black girl, who would not break my gaze, I was locked in.  I could not break her stare, it was almost as if I was under her power, she had total control of my movements, I could feel myself moving towards her table.  Fear gripped my soul with a tight fist and began to squeeze hard.
She asked us had we anything to declare, as she unzipped our bags, beginning with the largest, the holdall.  Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, she carefully took out our neatly folded clothes and unfolded them, one item at a time, working with a system, a methodical search, this was far more terrifying than any random, erratic rummaging.  She began examining each item thoroughly, feeling everything with finger and thumb, from top to bottom.  My heart felt as though it would leap from my chest, with irregular rhythm, it beat with such force. Paco usually so cool and collected, always with something to say to a lady and forever charming, just stood stiffly also transfixed, watching the little fat black hands fondle through our clothing.  She placed everything back and zipped up the case, I could feel him exhale with relief.....
Although I could not.
Paco had packed first, with my slight OCD problem and obsession with nice luggage, I had taken it upon myself to repack the case, in a more organized fashion.  So into these little zipper pockets went the socks and underwear.
I watched as she unzipped, looking directly into my eyes as she did so, as if following  telepathic directions from my fear.  Carefully she began to unroll our more personal items and then our socks, all neatly folded and rolled in pairs, she unrolled them one by one.  Suddenly I saw the chosen pair, they were next, my mouth dry, eyes unblinking, watching with horror as she unrolled the sock and it fell out onto the desk.  A large lump of silver foil wrapped around approximately two ounces of Moroccan black.
“Who’s is this?” she asked
“Mine” Paco had replied before I could even breath
"Are you aware of what it is?" she asked
"Si, it is my Hashish" he replied
A male officer now approached, “On behalf of her Majesties customs, I am arresting you Sir, on suspicion of smuggling illegal drugs into the United Kingdom”..... or something along those lines.  The male officer handcuffed him and took him away, I watched in horror, as they disappeared along a corridor.  
I was now alone, and had begun to feel extremely vulnerable.
Fellow passengers were still walking past, fascinated, staring at me with the attention usually reserved for a car crash, only without pity, more with a look of disgust and distain.  It wasn’t long before I overheard and officer tell an official to let the bus leave, that we were to be detained here.  Panic rose in my chest, my parents.  What will happen when they realise we are not on the bus? 
How will we tell them? 
What will we tell them? 
“Madam, what are these?” 
The female officer, continuing on her mission of searching every inch of my luggage now had hold of my vitamins, 
“They are fibre pills, they make you shit” I replied, angry now, tired and angry. 
We shouldn’t be here, we should have landed in Manchester and should now be reunited with my parents, sat in their warm car on the way home to a clean soft bed. Not here in cold unfriendly Birmingham, at her majesties pleasure.
“Is there anything else you would like to declare, before I continue searching” asked the officer, who appeared to have grown in stature, certainly in confidence, she had scored and she was loving it.
“It is legal you know” I told her ‘ In Spain, it is legal” 
“Well, it isn’t here Madame” 
“No, there isn’t anymore” I replied in resignation

She continued her search, my answer had been without relevance, she was loving the humiliation of fingering each item that was in my possession.  She opened my lipstick one of which was green, this caused more quizzical glances. 
“It is a lip stain,  turns pink when you use it” I said before they asked “Try it if you don’t believe me, but its stains for hours” I said with a smile. 
I was bored now, irritated by this tenacious trainee, yes I had realized she was a trainee by all the pats on the back, that she was receiving from her more senior colleagues. She was an eager one too, and a good one, unfortunately for us.
The customs corridor was empty all passengers were sat happily on the coach about to embark on the last leg of their trip to Manchester, when the escorted me to my interview room. 
“Please sit” she muttered
We sat in silence in this tiny room, devoid of any warmth or character. A grey plastic chair with grey plastic walls, I could hear my blood pounding throughout, and had become aware that I was shaking.  The shock of the situation we were in was suddenly beginning to sink in.
A tall blonde officer now joined us in the room, obviously of a more senior position.
“Madame, I need to ask you to remove your clothing, one item at a time please”
I noticed that my hands were trembling as I began to unbutton my shirt, desperately trying to control it, wanting to keep as much of my cool demeanor that I could, but I was failing badly.  It is very hard to be proud when you are being asked to strip. Each item of clothing was then examined and inside and out, I stood shivering, a mixture of humiliation and cold.  Once they had searched an item it was placed ready for me to get dressed.  This I would be allowed to do, following an internal search...

I realised now why the second woman had been called in, it was to witness this procedure.  The killing blow, I began to involuntarily wretch, this search that penetrated my body, had managed to remind me, that I was nothing....
This was not the first time in my young life that I had been violated by a person in authority.  The only difference on this occasion was, that I had brought it upon myself and now felt completely defeated.