Thursday, June 19, 2008

We Live As We Dream, Alone


Gyppo Byard has pitched his vardo in the lay-by of British womanhood and started hawking the scented heather of Oriental delight.


The lively one-sided debate he provoked raises questions not about the media as the message, but the difficulty of perceiving that message while drinking buckets of soave with your girlfriends in the various chrome-plated bars of English market towns.


"Sex and the City: The Movie" opens in cinemas here this week, and Mrs Boyo is marching her phalanx of the Rosa Luxemburg Sexual Illiteracy Combat Brigade through the piles of empty Thornton's boxes, rosé wine bottles and mascara puddles to pressgang stragglers into the popcorn galleys for what she hopes will be anti-Romaticism aversion therapy.


I fear she may be wrong. I enjoyed the TV series "Sex and the City" as a sort of "Coupling" for simpletons. There is considerable evidence, however, that many lady viewers see it not as a "satire on the self-delusion of gender-based empowerment in late-capitalist society", to quote Mrs Boyo, but rather as a practical guide for the perplexed.


I would therefore suggest that the makers of this and other fine comedy programmes should preface each broadcast with the following message:


"The lives portrayed herein are fictional. Any attempt to spend yours in lunchtime frascati sessions while squealing about orgasms and harrassing waiters will leave you a penniless and lonely lush. You will die in a pool of your own wee in a failed attempt to struggle into a frock designed for a Neapolitan teenager. And - no: gay men do not find you fascinating. They see you as ungainly object lessons in why they made the right choice. Enjoy the show."


It seems the kindest thing they could do.

18 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's strange to think of women imagining themselves to be any of those characters, but how else to explain the popularity of the show? And now Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) has got herself hitched to a butch woman, which is a nice irony. Playing Miranda must have made her bi-curious.

M C Ward said...

Harsh but fair. And hilarious.

I was trying to remember where that quote "We live as we dream, alone" came from, but now I remember it's Conrad. There's a statue to him on the seafront in Gdynia. I've seen it live.

Mrs Pouncer said...

The so-called cafe society is to blame. That, and the Continental Sunday. Suddenly everything is supposed to be frivolous, coated with a sort of multipurpose frou-frou that didn't exist when Mr Macmillan was in charge. It seems to have happened overnight. My dear old charwoman tells me that last night her bottle of Stout was presented by the barman aslant in a basket with a napkin around it. Has the world gone mad? Cordially, Mrs Pouncer

No Good Boyo said...

You're right, Mrs P. Our char is ignorant of all modern media and thus untainted by lust or pretension. She's also baffled by the vacuum cleaner, but it seems a small price to pay.

GB, I too am baffled why anyone would envy any of these man-crazed drabs. At least the fictional characters men want to emulate conform to reassuring stereotypes of jaw-smacking international traffic violation, chain-smoking adultery, gin snorting and indifferent grooming.

The Poles are right to honour the great man, MC. I await the Englishman who decides to write in Polish. And gets published.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Yeah, a good one, Boyo. And MC's found his own Joseph Conrad connection. All's right with the world. I can't have seen this tv programme more than once, but I recall that the storylines were almost a holy book to an ex-girlfriend of mine, so I think I have idea where you're coming from.

I'd like to make a sequel to this film called Sex and the Countryside, set in a rather pleasingly shitty village near where I live and centred upon a group of farmyard animals who aren't particularly fussed about finding that elusive combination of perfect soul-mate and perfect orgasm.

Gyppo Byard said...

Hear hear!
I am currently sojourning in jolly old Armenia, where the streets are flocked with svelte Armenian women who, like most of the female population of the warmer parts of the former Soviet Union, know how to dress. Their larcenous-looking menfolk are something of a disincentive to the pursuit of entente cordiale, but turn out to be super chaps after you've shared a bottle or two of apricot vodka with them and toasted everything you could think of. Or indeed remember.
Where was I?
Oh yes - married as I already am, I can but look on wistfully at the multifarious glories of Armenian womanhood, but would strongly recommend a visit for any unmarried western men whose taste runs to 'petite' and 'dark-eyed', and who is actively seeking to avoid the marinaded fag-hags so eloquently described by Boyo-jan.

Scaryduck said...

I have managed to keep my mind pure of such tosh through never having watched a single episode of Sex and the City. And Friends.

My life, I expect, is all the better for it.

No Good Boyo said...

Scary and Gadjo, Friends and SATC are the twin horns on which many a suitor has been impaled.

On the other hand, there is considerable evidence that 60% of the email passwords of all office-bound women aged 23-35 are based on some combination of Sex and the City, so possibilities for fun at other people's expense are ample.

Gyppo, I wondered where you'd gone. The eels in Mrs Boyo's tarn seemed more plentiful than usual. Armenia is a fine place, and I look forward to reading about your adventures on the Ministry of the Interior bulletin board.

Do the locals know that old music hall song "I Shot the Black Armenian 'Neath the Burning Turkish Sun?"

Gyppo Byard said...

Strangely enough Boyo, I managed not to get into trouble this time, partly by not pouring anything over the Minister of Tourism (something which the PC-nonsense brigade tell me was a faux pas in another part of the former Soviet whatsit. But he so richly deserved it...)

Where was I?

Oh yes - the other night I was wandering around Republic Square at something of a loose end, musing how clean and upstanding Armenia is compared to some of its former Soviet stablemates (where hotels come equipped with large staffs of pimps and whores who - by law - are required to carry megaphones, lockpicks and battering rams to force themselves upon single foreign men), when I was approached by a diminutive Armenian lady whose 6-inch heels raised her to the dizzy height of 4'11", who blocked my way purposefully and enquired "Sex?"

"Male!" I replied promptly, taking advantage of her momentary confusion to gain a head start...

A week in Armenia gives me rights to write an in-depth analysis of the country, which I shall be putting on my blog forthwith.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Yes, it's good to confuse with a little British irony, Mr Gyppo. I was in Georgia last year (some pretty girls there too, some of whom are also Armenian), and the large Turkish-owned hotel had a policy of making the recentionist phone the rooms and ask "The wind is blowing a lot this evening. Please close your window if you don't want the blowing". Maybe it's just me, maybe it was because I was a long way from home, but this sounded like a proposition. Unfortunately I was too stupid to go the window and see who it was down in the courtyard putting her lipstick back into her handbag.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Gentlemen, please! There are ladies present. And as for Mr Dilo, you flatter yourself. The concierge was obviously just trying to warn you of the approach of the Etesian, a wind which even Miss Lloyd sometimes mentions. Cordially etc Mrs P

Gyppo Byard said...

Beggin' yer pardon, madame. One mistook the time zone and assumed the ladies had retired.

I am duly chastised. In fact, speaking of chastisement...

Robs said...

Welsch

Mrs Pouncer said...

Dear Mr Boyo, do you know this person? What does he mean by "Welsch". Is he alluding to a speech impediment, or an ill-fitting denture? Cordially etc

No Good Boyo said...

We've not met, Mrs Pouncer, but I like his laconic style. His web blog is devoted to a war on excessive punctuation, which I applaud. The fact that it is being compiled during recreation hour in a lunatic asylum troubles me not.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Mrs. Pop's a fan of both SATC and Friends, and while I liked a small selection of one-liners from some of the early series, both leapt way over Jaws when they turned from sitcom to soap, cranking down the frequency of my guttural guffaw to an average of less than once per episode. I was then mercifully banned from watching once I started offering accompanying commentaries that seemed to offend Mrs. Pop's ability to relax and enjoy the apparent entertainment. "You always say stuff is crap after the second series," she counter-critiqued. Next time I'm in New York I swear that I shall offer an admonitory slap to any cast members that cross my path. What do you mean, they all live in LA?

No Good Boyo said...

Pop, you're right. We have two TV channels in Britain - E4 and Paramount - that play two episodes of Friends and SATC respectively everyday, so you can canter through the entire oeuvre in a year - rather like a church lectionary.

The decline of SATC from its innovative and provocative first series to being another soap about sadsack women who "need a maaaan" was striking - the character of Charlotte is basically mugged and Stepforded.

The one constant in Friends was Joey. He never let us down. As for the rest - "could they become more irritating?"

I recommend "Coupling" - the antidote to sitcoms.

Gadjo Dilo said...

For the last few years I was resident in the UK I was so hopelessly Radio 4 that I missed Coupling and nearly all of this Friends thing too. For me, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue was the antidote to everything. Speaking of which, does anybody out there know what's going to happen to it now Humph has left us??