Monday, January 01, 2007

James Joyce is like raw oysters

That should probably be "You're whit stupid".

A few weeks ago, one of the Guardian Books Blog contributors wrote a post about not liking things that one is expected to like. I can't find it now and I can't remember who the contributor was, so I'll just have to hope I'm not plagiarising him/her all to buggery. The upshot of the post was that there are some things that you simply can't admit to not liking if you wish to be taken seriously. So I thought I'd make a little list for your jeering pleasure.

I hate James Joyce with a passion
There. Said it. Ulysses was one of the most miserable reading experiences of my university life. I coped with Dubliners and found A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man mildly annoying, but nothing cold have prepared me for the horror of Ulysses. I disliked it so much that I sold it. Bloomsday leaves me pale and traumatised at the thought of Joyce buffs the world over merrily scarfing kidneys and Guiness.

I suppose I should be thankful the lecturer didn't add Finnegan's Wake to the curriculum as well. I understand that it makes Molly Bloom's punctuation- and grammar-free rant seem clear and concise.

The Coen Brothers leave me cold
Another one of those ol' sacred cows. Thinking people love the Coens. Well, I hated Fargo. It was just so damned predictable. If you hire petty criminals to kidnap your wife so you can collect the ransom from your father-in-law, there's a fair chance that things are going to go arse up, though I will admit that I didn't see the woodchipper coming. But Frances McDormand's accent annoyed me and I wanted to give William H. Macey a good slapping.

I found Barton Fink incomprehensible and not even George Clooney could incude me to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? That said, I didn't mind Miller's Crossing, but that was only because Gabriel Byrne was in it. Even then, I don't think I'd bother watching it again. Sorry, Coen Brothers, but that's more strikes than hits. I'm afraid I'm voting you off the island.

I don't get Stanley Kubrick
Bloke and his mates love Kubrick. They adore 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think watching it is like being licked to death by a sloth.

"Open the pod bay door, Hal."
"Sorry, I can't do that, Dave."
Repeat ad nauseam. Add some flickery lighting effects and a bunch of monkeys.

I like Vietnam War movies, so I don't mind Full Metal Jacket and I can see why The Shining has a cult following, but Dr Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange just don't do it for me. Give me a good monster movie or some of Peter Jackson's old schlock films any day.

Opera, musicals, ballet and modern dance bore me senseless
The pain threshold is very low here. Perhaps I just don't have much of a concentration span. Oh, look at a the pretty moth! Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. Musical things and dancey stuff. I know I'm a philistine, but I just can't do it. The last time I saw any modern dance, ADT was still called Australian Dance Theatre and Meryl Tankard was the supremo. From the look of that particular show (the name escapes me), all the dancers had been having a collective tantrum over who would get the solos, so Meryl rounded them up and said, "Don't fret, my darlings - you shall ALL have solos!" It made me want to injure myself just to get away.

As for musicals, I can't even sit through all of My Fair Lady or The King and I, and Moulin Rouge made me want to slash my wrists after 10 minutes. You can keep The Boy From Oz and the bloody silly Lion King.

Oh, and if someone could manage to set fire to that dirty great white Cirque du Soleil tent, I'd be much obliged.

Brad Pitt is not attractive
Yeah, yeah, wash my mouth out. Sorry, he looks like a scruffy little guttersnipe. Angelina (who is known in our household as "Crack Whore" for the simple reason that Bloke thinks she's a bit of a all right) can keep him. Give me Hugh Laurie or Clive Owen any day.

Jamie Oliver is a prat
I can't tell you how bored I am with Mr Naked Chef. I don't care what he has to say about school dinners, or whether he takes miserable little street kids and turns them into miserable little apprentice chefs, or whether he has the biggest, bestest restaurant in the world. He's a wanker. Anyone who accepts 15,000 pounds to put Heinz Baked Beans on their restaurant menu and is then mortified when people find out deserves everything he gets.

Bono has a lot in common with Jamie Oliver
Sure, I don't mind a bit of U2 from time to time, but a very small bit. I started to turn on Bono last year when he enlisted that caterwauling horror Mary J. Blige to help butcher One. I was thoroughly bored with U2 by the time they finally played in Adelaide, especially since everyone in the world seemed to be going and spoke of nothing else for a week beforehand. When I heard that the guy sent his private jet to collect a hat he had forgotten, that was the finish. You have no right to bang on about saving the planet when you pull stunts like that, old sport. Go and stand in the corner.

Goat's cheese tastes like crap
I know I'm supposed to appreciate goat's cheese, but it smells and tastes like creamed sweat sock. Just give me a chunk of cheddar and a Jatz biscuit and leave me the hell alone. Oh, and while we're on the subject of food that I should like but can't stand, oysters au naturel have the texture of chewed-up snot. If you want me to eat them, you're just going to have to cook them.

Beer smells
I realise that for an Australian, admitting this is sacrilegious. It's even worse to be a journalist who doesn't like beer. I really have tried to like it, just like I've tried to like coffee and red wine, but I've finally given up. I just can't stand any of them.

I guess that's enough to keep you smirking at me for a while. When you've finished jeering, though, make me feel better - tell me some things that you feel like you're supposed to like, but can't stand.



At 3:26 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger MadameBoffin said...

I agree, beer is pig-swill and Kubrick is mind-numbing. And I feel the same way about Heart of Darkness (and Apocalypse Now) as you do about Ulysses. Fuuuuucking boring; utterly painful to read and neither are anywhere close to deserving the accolades they receive.

At 5:04 am, January 02, 2007, Anonymous ElWasabi said...

Couldn't agree more about Joyce, and throw in his Frog counterpart, too. And what's with this Robert Altman? Seems like he floats through his plots on vicodin.

At 7:41 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger meva said...

I agree about Kubrick. And beer does smell (but I still like it).

I can't stand Dickens.

Or the Wizard of Oz.

Don't hate me!

At 8:19 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger Chesty LaRue said...

Jane Austen.

Star Wars (and most other sci-fi).

Harry Potter.

Yeah, just go ahead and shoot me now.

I do agree about the beer, and the Joyce, and Jamie Oliver. He's like no chef I have ever met, and he'd get the shit kicked out of him in any kitchen I've ever come across.

At 9:50 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger Rach said...

i hate Bono too. i thought i was the only one. apparently most ppl are avid U2 lovers, and will give you the silent-treatment if you say anything bad about stinkin Bono.

My New Years resolution.. Down with Bono, more Geena Davis.

At 10:38 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

I hate football and beer, which had me labelled 'un-Australian' in high school - I kid you not.

With you on opera, dance, etc. (though I do fancy the odd old Hollywood musical, or the new Bollywood).

Ditto Brad Pitt (not a fan of pretty boys) and goat's cheese.

Here's a really controversial one though: I don't think Little Britain is funny, let alone genius.

Nice post.

At 10:45 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger PetStarr said...

Oh my GOODNESS Redcap, so much I didn't know about you!!!

1. James Joyce - agreed. Speak English, mofo?

2. Coen Brothers - disagreed. Sorry, I think they write fabulous dialogue. Have you seen Intolerable Cruelty?

3. Stanley Kubrick - partial agreement. All of his films are visually GORGEOUS but many leave me cold. I still love A Clockwork Orange utterly and completely, but you can take A Space Odyssey and shove it right up your nebula. Being licked to death by a sloth is exactly the right description. And let's not even MENTION Eyes Wide Shut. As a side note, there is a film on DVD right now called 'Colour Me Kubrick' in which John Malkovich plays a conman who tells people he is Stanley Kubrick to get free drinks and sex (quite successfully, as it happens). It's based on a true story, and it's very funny. Highly recommended!

4. Opera, ballet, musicals and modern dance - partial agreement. I am a sucker for musicals and Chicago is my absolute favourite. You can keep modern dance though. And Moulin Rouge - anything that involves Skeletor singing and coughing occasionally into a handkerchief is to be avoided.

5. Brad Pitt - you CRAZY, woman.

6. Jamie Oliver -partial agreement. I do think our Jamie is a bit of a twunt, but when it comes down to it he's orright, really, innit?

7. Bono - partial agreement. Well, he does so much GOOD in the world, doesn't he? And his little band HAVE put out some rather good songs.

8. Goat's cheese - again: you CRAZY, woman! Goat's cheese is sublime and I won't hear a word against it. Unless that word is a piece of lavoche and you are thrusting it towards my open mouth.

9. Beer smells - agreed. Beer smells LIKE HAPPINESS.

At 11:05 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger Scorpy said...

ROFLMAO but only because I totally agree with you!!! Clockwork orange and 2001 were/are CRAP!! for F/sake he directed Eyes wide shut!!! WTF?
Coen's are overrated, James Joyce and Co are boring! but I also hate John Le Carre and the bloody 39 steps! Modern Dance is for people that have trouble expressing themselves verbally and modern ART is the same. These people aren't artists -anyone can crap on a glass table and call it art! What gives Bono (or any other 'artist' the right to demand our government do anything. What qualifications does he have to back up the science that he sprukes. PS: I don't like their albums either.
The only point I will sort of disagree on is the beer smell. Pubs absolutely stink the next morning because of stale beer but normal fresh beer does not stink - the beer that does stink though is South Australian Beer, especially West End. I have lived and drunk in every state and it smells BAD!

At 11:43 am, January 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Boff, I have to admit that I don't mind a bit of Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now.

elwasabi, with you on Altman, but without him, we would have been deprived of this fine example of writing.

Meva, I've always thought the Wizard of Oz was a bit crap too!

Chesty, I dream of seeing Jamie Oliver kicked out of a kitchen...

Rach, I firmly believe that most people only like U2 because they think they should. But who died and made Bono God, anyway?

Ariel, thanks! But football? What's that? ;) I enjoyed the first two seasons of Little Britain and can quote Lou and Andy with the best of them, but the third one wasn't very good. There was a huge U2ish rush to get tickets to the live show, but I didn't bother. As one of my mates says, nothing's any good once other people like it.

Pet, does this mean we can't get trashed together anymore? ;) Hey, at least I didn't say I hated Dylan.

Scorpy, I have no problem with Bono's stance on global warming or feeding the starving - they're admirable things to push for and the government does need a bit of a boot in the date to sign the Kyoto agreement. I just don't think he believes in his own rhetoric (viz the hat incident) and it's all a cynical ploy for publicity. Out of my way, Bob Geldof! There's only room for one living saint in Britain! Oh, and beer's beer, as far as I'm concerned. It all smells :)

At 12:06 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger jedimerc said...

Beer does smell bad, but so does most alcohol :)

I won't defend Joyce, but I didn't find him totally awful either, but I can see not wanting to see O, Brother Where Art Though if you are not a fan of Ulysses (it being based on the Oddyssey, um... both book and movie).

2010 is a much better film than the slow-mo 2001 (and the book is a sight better), but the first half of Full Metal Jacket is amazing and probably my second favorite war movie (behind Glory) And a big fan of Vietnam war movies here as well.. actually, most military-based movies.

And I think, if I were playing for the other team, I would find Hugh Laurie far more attractive than Brad Pitt (who I hear has a problem with keeping clean).

At 12:12 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

I have a literary one - I HATED JM Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello with a passion, though I was a fan of Disgrace.

Oh, and re. Cleanskin - MY GOD I've never come across such a bunch of utterly unlikable characters.

At 2:39 pm, January 02, 2007, Anonymous ashleigh said...


With you on the Oysters. I cannot see the attraction, cooked or otherwise. After a couple of attempts, the retching afterwards convinced me that there are some things one simply should not eat, oysters being one of them. Should I also add Brussel Sprouts :-)

As for books - I was forced to sit through the turgid ramblings of English Literature at high school, and that put me off such luminaries as Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Castor-Oil) and George Eliot (Silage Marner). What dreadful, slow, boring, turgid rubbish. Same with Xavier Herbet. Avoid "Capricornia" even if your life depends upon it. I suppose there was a reason for studying it - perhaps it's like cough medicine. It tastes so awful you are pleased when it's over and normal life (whatever your normality may be) does not seem so bad after all.

Films & all that. Modern dance (any dance) leaves me completely cold. What IS the point of all that prancing around? Again, at high school (my school was a specialist technical / drama school) the musicals were quite fun to be involved in, but these days I just don't get them. Ever seen Clint Eastwood singing his way through "Pain my Wagon". Oh please! It was awful, made worse by being about 4 1/2 hours long. Opera: my father loves it so I've had it inflicted from an early age. Some is good - there are some great tunes here and there, but I cannot bear female sopranos warbling - it sounds like a cat being strangled no matter how good the voice or how technically great the singer is supposed to be.

Now, Jamie O. Hmm. He was not bad when he first appeared as Mr Naked, and we even have his first book. By about series 27 he was getting a touch over-exposed and losing any originality. Since then I think its just a series of stunts to keep his profile high. Now Gordon Ramsay on the other hand, has character. He might be an arrogant twat, but he has character!

Beer: Most beer smells a bit, stale beer is awful. I find I drink less and less with the years, these day a very pleasant change is a Red Back wheat beer from Western Australia. If I want a beery treat I'll try one of those. Most other leave me cold (pun?!). But wait - there is a worse un-Australianism to come!

But Red wine: oh, you philistine. Life without red is not worth living. It has taken a lot of years to move from sweet white wines to a full-bodied red, though, so being chucked in the deep end would only serve to put anybody off, not to mention comprising cruelty and being a waste of a good drop.

Come goats cheese is ok, but mouldy cheese - yuk. That's for making compost, not eating. Sorry, but you can all keep your Camenbert, Brie, Blue Vien, Gogonzola. Yuk. They all taste like mould to me.

But the most un-Australian one of all is sport. Of any kind. Why am I supposed to like it? The idea of sitting around watching cricket or football whilst sucking on a stubby and hollering to the sheila to get another packet of crisps... what is attractive about that? (I forgot - whilst wearing a singlet). Sport is boring. Sports news is boring. Sports commentating is boring. Sportspersons are boring, and most have all the personality of a blowfly. Why do we pay these people so much, and pay so much attention to them? Such a complete waste of time. There is only one exception: the Melbourne Cup is of passing interest, mainly because of the amount of fuss made, and best of all because it's over with in 10 minutes - and it only happens once a year!

At 3:26 pm, January 02, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Ooooh, we are all differend----thank the supreme being (if you believe) for that----we now have something to talk about.

So next round will be two beers and a p--fter drink then ??

I'm a little disappointed that there is no mention no mention of the big foody no no---
Pineapple does not belong on pizza

At 4:27 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

oooh Redcap. I think I might have to create a similar list.

I too hate James Joyce.

At 4:45 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Jedi, I can't decide whether the scariest part of Full Metal Jacket is the bit where Vincent D'Onofrio goes freaky with the gun in the bathroom, or the final scene where they're all singing the Mickey Mouse theme song. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Ariel, oh, I forgot Coetzee! I got half-way through Elizabeth Costello about two years ago and just lost interest. It might even still be at the bottom of the book pile on my bedside table. Did you hear him at Writers' Week? Not exactly a live wire, is he?

Ashleigh, now that is an extremely comprehensive response. I'm distinctly over the Melbourne Cup too. It's just an excuse to put on a frock and get trashed. Though actually, that second part doesn't sound too bad... Oh, and by the way, Wordpress doesn't like me at the moment, so I can't comment on your blog. But I'll keep trying.

Teddy, are you calling me a girl? ;) Of course you're right about the pineapple, but no-one tells you you're a no-nothing philistine for that. That's normal behaviour.

Gigglewick, please do. Go on, turn those sacred cows into steak Diane >:) I'll look forward to reading it.

At 5:34 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger audrey said...

I can't make friends with Dickens either. He leaves me cold.

As for your list:

HATE HATE HATE U2. One of my favourite ever questions goes thus:

What would you do if you met your dream boy and at the sexy moment you discovered they had a tattoo of Bono on their back?

For me...dealbreaker.

Other things I don't like that everyone else thinks marks them an intellectual:

Friedrich Bloody Nietsche. I'm sorry fans, could you be any more like a 17 year old geekboy?

Bindi Irwin. She's literally Jem from The Dark Crystal, and that scares me. Must she be everywhere?

Do-gooders. God, they're boring. Especially when they talk about it all the gosh darn time.

Sofia Coppola. We get it. You think you're a misunderstood 17 year old girl with highly attuned intellectual prowess. But guess what? You're crap and your movies are crap, and PS mofo, you didn't WRITE The Virgin Suicides, you adapted it into a screenplay. Stop pretending that you did everytime I watch it with your metres high proclamation "WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY SOFIA COPPOLA". Lies make baby jesus cry.

The Sunrise Team. I mean...seriously.

But mostly Coppola and Bloody Nietsche. And Bono.

At 7:04 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

Audrey, Bindi scares me. As I read somewhere(can't remember where)who is so happy and bouncy all the time when their father just died? I don't blame her - she's a little kid - but surely it's gotta catch up with her.

Yeah, heard Coetzee at Writer's Week. Gotta say this for him: he's onto a good thing with the whole reclusive bit. He obviously knows where his talents don't lie. Did you know that two (or maybe three) entire chapters of Costello were earlier published elsewhere as essays by Coetzee? Dodgy repackaging job, in my book.

At 9:53 pm, January 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Audrey, actually, a guy with a tattoo of any rock star on his back would worry me. Re Bindi, I'd been wondering what she reminded me of, and you've hit the nail right on the head. That kid is really disturbing, the poor little bugger. And do-gooders? They can all fuck off and die :)

Ariel, I'll let Coetzee off for being a recluse. I'd rather like to be Thomas Pynchon, but I doubt I could pull it off. But recycling old essays into a novel? The utter dryness of that book suddenly makes sense.

At 3:16 am, January 03, 2007, Blogger EmmaK said...

I agree with most of these points. How could anyone not think Jamie Oliver was a pretentious wanker? Also Brad Pitt looks like he smells. He also looks like a monkey. Basically he is a smelly monkey.

No one I know has read more than two pages of Ulysses without drifting off into sleep. As you say, Dubliners is bearable.

But I must say I love goat's cheese and the smell of beer.

At 10:53 am, January 03, 2007, Blogger Sloth said...

Coming late to the party as usual.

I would like to add Lord Of The Rings Movie series to this list.
In the 15 billion hours of movie that I had to endure there was only one good scene.
When trees where whacking dudes.
That was cool. But the other hours were some that I will never get back.

At 10:58 am, January 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, on the subject of things you Aren't Supposed to Admit; reminds me of the game David Lodge describes in one of his books (Changing Places, I think). Apparently the game was devised by Malcolm Bradbury. You are supposed to cite a book you haven't read/play you haven't seen that you Really Should Have (Hamlet, War and Peace etc). The point is you can only win by exposing genuine ignorance. One very competitive character manages to basically scupper their career.
But, I witter...

At 12:19 pm, January 03, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

And yet, not one mention of a very untalented smelly millionaire Boom Town Rat

At 1:15 pm, January 03, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Emma, thank you. I rest my Brad Pitt case.

Sloth, have to admit I like a bit of the old Peter Jackson and have done since Meet the Feebles, but chacun a son gout!

Anon, ooh, I like the idea of competitive ignorance! There's a sport that could overtake AFL...

Ted, Bono took Sir Bob's place in the universe, so I guess to dis one is to dis both.

At 5:34 pm, January 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things I'm supposed to like but don't:

-Sundried tomatos & olives

-Red wine

-Radiohead (angsty boy stuff ... or perhaps I'm just too old for such willful misery music)

-On that topic ... Nietsche. Agree with audrey

-Spicks & Specks (sorry ABC, prefer Rockwiz)

-Patrick White

At 11:56 am, January 05, 2007, Blogger foodkitty said...

The only reason Tolkien wrote LOTR is because no-one had invented Dungeons and Dragons then. The only reason anyone watches the movie versions is because the rules of D&D elude them.

Yes to Kubrick - and onto anything with Kidman

yes to U2 but then I'd add the Who and Strolling Bones as well - TIME and PLACE people, time and place.

At 4:20 pm, January 05, 2007, Anonymous groverjones said...

Am I supposed to like The Female Eunuch, or just have read it. I've done the latter. I would have rather eaten the book.

At 4:27 pm, January 05, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Anon, I prefer Rockwiz too. Spicks and Specks has never really done it for me.

Foodkitty, I detest Nicole Kidman too! That much botox can't be good for anyone. Besides, she betrayed her hair.

Grover, I have to admit I've never read The Female Eunuch, but I'll take your word on it. Feminist lit has never really held that much interest for me. (Ah, sue me!)

As an aside, I've got an extremely subject-appopriate word verifcation thingie: tozssr. Ha ha :)

At 2:57 am, January 07, 2007, Anonymous MikeFitz said...

RedCap, you're making me feel guilty that I once tried to help James Joyce across the road in Dublin, but he wouldn't get off his soapbox.

Many of your points you make here, I agree with; Brad Pitt, Jamie Oliver, Modern Dance. MODERN DANCE! Strike me pink, I've never been so upset by a performance in all my life! You've inspired me to post my story.

However, when it comes to Kubrick, I'm with Bloke, especially re 2001: A Space Odyssey. I cannot hear Strauss' Blue Danube (and it gets played quite a bit in our house) without the hair standing up on the back of my neck as I recall that Pan-Am rocket synchronizing its rotation with the spinning space station before docking. Waltzing has never been the same.

I find nearly all of Kubrick's films extremely innovative. However, I haven't bothered to go and see Eyes Wide Shut. I knew Tom Cruise was a bad egg even before our Nicole left him.

And Redcap, you mentioned that the scariest part of Full Metal Jacket is the final scene where they're all singing the Mickey Mouse theme song. Other people have told me this too and this has completely surprised me. Having worked for the big jungle green military machine, let me tell you this is quite normal behaviour and not scary at all. These days, though, it might be the theme from Play School.

At 8:51 pm, January 07, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Mike, you should have pushed that statue in front of a semi-trailer and been done with it ;)

At 9:51 pm, January 08, 2007, Anonymous Bloke said...

I would just like to add my opinion.
KUBRICK is a fucking legend.
2001 is the greatest movie I have ever seen. From melodrama to science fiction, Kubrick exemplfied them all.

I love Apocalypse Now.

P.S. Beer is the drink of Kings.

P.P.S. I agree about Jamie Oliver and Bono.

At 9:53 pm, January 08, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

OK, Bloke is allowed to sleep in my bed.

At 11:14 am, April 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Joyce grows on you... after about 600 pages. I didn't actually like Portrait until after I finished reading it, but for a week afterwards, I couldn't stop talking about it. However, I'm not sure that Ulysses is worth all the attention it deserves. But let's give him some credit; it's not everyday that you find a book in fresh, innovative prose, and be it 100 years old and far too many pages long, Ulysses is pretty to read.

I like Jane Austen. Nobody else has written quite like her. (although I have to admit that the first time I read Pride and Predjustice I hated it!) Maybe it's like eighties music, it grows on you as time passes...

At 3:27 pm, January 22, 2009, Blogger travismacmillan said...

James Joyce's work bores me to bloody tears. We're reading "Dubliners" in class and it's very painful how the damn stories go NOWHERE. Each short story I read, I curse Joyce in my heart. I just want to stand up in the middle of class and scream, "Why are we reading this mind numbingly boring crap!?? Why?!!!" Uhhh...

At 12:00 pm, June 19, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Joyce is indescribably awful!

Let's not omit the most vastly overrated movie ever made - Citizen Kane by that obese windbag, the late Orson Welles.

At 1:16 am, August 03, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Joyce's Dubliners but getting through A Portrait has been tough.

At 11:29 pm, September 18, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a pleb you are.


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