What I'm Doing Wednesday

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:36 pm
sage: close up of a slice of lemon held up against the sky, dripping (lemon)
[personal profile] sage
books (Christie, Arendt) )

allergy mystery food challenge weirdness )

pockets a happy shopping adventure )

yarning
Friday is the 6 month anniversary of the Women's March, so now I have another calendar deadline for showing at least one version of my current project. (I'm struggling to convince myself that I AM ALLOWED to revise later.) I've spent all day today working on it, and all evening redesigning a crucial piece. There's so much yet to do, but I'm learning so much.

Annnd I just realized I didn't post this earlier. Oops?
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
I watched A Very British Sex Scandal last night — it’s a great docu-drama made in 2007 about the Wolfenden Report and the Montagu Affair, largely following Peter Wildeblood. The Montagu Affair was a very high profile case in the 1950s in which three men were tried for “homosexual acts” — it’s credited with helping to change public opinion and, eventually, the law. Wildeblood was one of the men tried.

I strongly recommend the film. The docu bit is fascinating — the contributors are queer men born in the 20s and 30s who watched this all play out, including, rather amazingly, Lord Montagu himself.

The drama bit is sweet, compelling, understated, and doesn’t take too many liberties. I was also particularly touched by the context-setting voiceover, which provided us with such gems as, “In 1952 The Daily Mail was a serious establishment newspaper. Its opinions were highly respectable.”

After watching the film, I immediately bought Peter Wildeblood’s Against the Law, first published in 1959, which is largely about Wildeblood’s experiences of being gay, the Montagu Affair, and Wildeblood’s subsequent time in prison. In it he argues equally hard for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and for penal reform in general. It’s reckoned to be the first sympathetic book about male homosexuality to reach a wide audience in Britain.

It’s hard to overstate how brilliant and brave this book is, and I would have loved it for that no matter how it was written — but it’s also such a clear, spare, honest, witty, engaging piece of writing, one that leaves me feeling both in breathless awe of this hero of a man and, at the same time, like it’s only an accident of space and time that we aren’t friends. When I finished it, I missed him.

Yes, so, I fucking love this book and I recommend it even more strongly than the docu-drama. (I think there’s a new docu-drama coming out pretty soon, actually, called Against the Law? AVBSS was made for the 40th anniversary of decriminalisation, and AtL is for the 50th anniversary. So if you’re only going to watch the one docu-drama, you’ll soon have a choice.)

My version has an intro written by Matthew Parris which I liked a lot and found very interesting but at the same time ended up disagreeing with quite strongly in places. (Which is, tbf, my normal reaction to Matthew Parris.) If you get the same version, I’d suggest not reading the intro until after you’ve read the book itself.

I also wanted to share with you the absolute gut punch I got when reading the very opening paragraph of the book.

Sometimes, when a man is dying, he directs that his body shall be given to the doctors, so that the causes of his suffering and death may be investigated, and the knowledge used to help others. I cannot give my body yet; only my heart and my mind, and trust that by this gift I can give some hope and courage to other men like myself, and to the rest of the world some understanding.


It’s. I don’t know. I read that, and I was struck by how very different it was from David Wojnarowicz’s If I die of AIDS - forget burial - just drop my body on the steps of the FDA — but at the same time, by how strong the thread is that connects them.

What I'm Doing Wednesday

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:52 pm
sage: xkcd: crop of standing male stick figure facing a seated cat and exclaiming, "You're a kitty!" (joy: kitty)
[personal profile] sage
books Christie, Arendt )

yard kitty
A lovely white cat with dark tabby splotches has begun hanging out in my backyard. It (she?) flees every time I open the back door, but I've taken to keeping a bowl of water and a pile of catnip out there for her. I'm not providing food, as I have no desire to feed the wildlife (evil freaking raccoons, gah), but I like giving her a safe, shady place to get a drink and some nip in the 100F heat.

yarning
I've made some excellent progress on the current epic project. Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I had a brainstorm that resolved the shaping difficulties of the part I was working on, so this morning I started the section over, and oh look, problem solved. There's still a fair bit to go, but maybe it'll be ready to show soonish.

healthcrap
There is a lot tbh, and I've been pretty under the weather. I am more than the sum of my healthcrap, though. That's the important thing.
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