Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The aphoristic brevity of paternal pronouncements

My father is quite a one for statements of the obvious. He never lets a completely unremarkable fact go unremarked if he can help it. Stomping into the room at 10.07 in the morning, he will glance at the clock, and say, 'Hmm. It's seven past ten.' A minute later, he will look at the clock, and announce, 'Ah. It's eight past ten.' This routine will go on for several minutes, until he will punctuate proceedings with a yawn, followed by a short commentary: 'I yawned'. He can while away an entire hour in this fashion. 

This fact really is true, but it's also worse than true: it's annoying. Which I suppose is the whole point of family. 

Anyway, I shouldn't really have been surprised, as Dad, Mum, my brother and I were walking up High Street after having seen the film Up at the Westgarth, to hear his reply to our question: 'how did you find it?'

'Well', said Dad, 'it was an animated film.' 

An animated film! And I had just been thinking that the film was hilarious, fantastic, whimsical, wonderful, moving, dream-like, innovative, playful with adventure and comedic conventions, subversive, and so on. But my impressions, and those of other critics and fans who had seen the film, would have been merely arguable; Dad's impressions, on the other hand, were undeniable. 

Perhaps critics and professors and appreciators of art have gone about this whole film/art/literature/music appreciation thing entirely the wrong way. Think about all the words they've expended on aesthetics when they could have been reviewing things, Dad-style: 

This is a small rectangular object, consisting of approximately 200 individual sheets of rectangular paper laid together, with black symbols placed on both sides. 

THE TEMPEST, William Shakespeare
A group of about 10 people stand up for an hour and make noises. Another group of people, usually larger than the first group, but sometimes smaller, sit down and watch and listen to the first group of people. This goes on for about an hour, then the rest is silence. 

THE SISTINE CHAPEL CEILING, Michelangelo Buanorotti
A stone roof which could have been made easier and cheaper out of wood, put up principally to keep the rain from falling inside. Includes a light paint job*. 

Hmm. It's 20 past eight. I think that clock needs fixing, by the way, it looks a little crooked. 

The one that comes just before his sixth symphony. It's a little noisy.** 

*I'm tempted to include an imagined review of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Paris Hilton - 'I think it would look nicer in pink'. But I won't. 

** I'm not sure whether it's true, but isn't there a story about a King criticising a Mozart opera as having 'too many notes'? 


TimT said...

Dad did have a nice line when encountering a pot of marmalade on sale in Yea, though. He noticed that it had the label 'no GM ingredients' in it. 'What's the point of it, then?' he wondered aloud.

Ampersand Duck said...

Maybe he meant animated as in 'lively, full of joyous energy', which would make it quite an apt comment.

Or maybe he didn't.

Tony.T said...

The Emperor is reported to have said "too many notes" about The Marriage of Figaro.

But, of course, he would be speaking in Austrian-German, so he might have said: "Not enough schnitzels."

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

In my critical opinion, this is a blog post.

TimT said...

& Duck - maybe he did, maybe he didn't. It shall be forever a mystery...

Tony - they make films about schnitzels now?

Baron - top of the class to ye!

TimT said...

By 'films about schnitzels' I meant 'operas about schnitzels'.

Clearly, I'm dazzling y'all with my schnitz.

phil said...

It sounds preferable to what we used to get, which was a smutty limerick for every occasion.

Actually, I kind of miss it, which I why I'm glad I got the gene.

Mrs VVB isn't so sure, but she can't say she wasn't warned.

TimT said...

Surely that would get tiring very quickly. There's only so many things That Man From Nantucket can get up to before the aesthetic possibilities of the smutty limerick are exhausted.

phil said...

Who said anything about aesthetism?

Email: timhtrain - at -

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