Wednesday, December 18, 2002

If you really want to make your head explode, tune in to this ongoing VH-1 series on the '80s airing this week from 9-11 p.m., and sure to be repeated ad infinitum. Some scary stuff. It had me during the 1982 show when I was practically jumping up and down and pointing at the screen yelling, "Oh my god! I remember that!!" when they showed a 1982 PSA cartoon showing kids how to make healthy snacks by pouring juice ("orange, or grape, or pomegranate") into ice cube trays, putting in toothpicks, and freezing. My head has been hurting all day, and come to think of it that may be the cause.

Nasty, British, and short
My latest completed read is Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One. This is a morbid little book about life for Brits in barely post-WWII Hollywood. The general idea is that the British community in Hollywood at the time had a tacit agreement that the movie business was the only appropriate business for expats, and community members under the auspices of the Cricket Club quietly attempt to force unsuccessful Brits to return home because their presence is unbecoming. Dennis Barlow, once the great hope of young Brit poets, now has a very unbecoming job--working at Happier Hunting Ground pet cemetery. After his elder benefactor is dumped by his studio and subsequently commits suicide, Dennis makes arrangements at a very different final resting place--upscale Whispering Glades, a resting ground for the stars and well to-do--where he falls for makeup artist Aimee Thanatopolous, who herself is infatuated in a strange way with chief mortician Mr. Joyboy. The resulting love triangle is resolved in a particularly cynical fashion, which is par for the course for this book, and from what I've gathered for Waugh in general.

The fun of this book is in cynical black humor of a particularly wry sort, and the British, Americans, and Hollywood itself are all open targets here. If you require at least someone in your books to have redeeming qualities, then avoid this one. But it is a short, quick read, and is very much in the line of cynical Hollywood novels, but not so hard-boiled as say a Chandler or Cain. If this review hasn't scared you off, then it's probably worth a look-see.

Off to see the answer to why they let Dan Aykroyd in...

No comments: