Monday, October 19, 2009

It was never this cold in my dreams and I think I might have fought for the wrong side

Having no music to listen to on a four-hour train journey is a terrible tragedy. But this time I was travelling on the right side of the afternoon; and because my train was going up and down the Midlands, as some trains tend to do these days, I was looking at familiar fields and forgotten railway stations getting showered with the disappearing sunshine, that last bit of bright light before it all reluctantly fades away in that slow autumn way, and darkness only really fell just after Bedford, like it always does.

I had 'Rescue Us' by My Favorite going in my mental jukebox the whole time. It's sweetly and almost obsessively familiar so for a few hours it didn't feel like I needed to hear it properly. But it was making me want to bury my head in my hands and it was threatening to kill the gracefulness of what I could see out of my train window. It's a song with key changes that amount to emotional blackmail and it even has one of those galling yet incredible voice-breaking moments.

And the book in my hands was Rabbit, Run by John Updike, whom I'd completely missed out on reading before, and it's a very uncomfortable read: at first cruelly misogynistic, then equally misandristic, hollow in feeling, sexy as hell, urgent, hopeless, incredibly beautifully written.

Those were the four shortest hours of my life but by the time I got home I was feeling ten years older, ten years younger and like I should be burning everything down to start all over again. So I had a bath and went to bed.

My Favorite, 'Rescue Us' (mp3)


Pete Green said...

The word "misandristic", the phrase "key changes that amount to emotional blackmail", and implicit disparagement of the Home Counties. This is the blog post that has it all!

Kippers said...

I'd not actually heard the word 'misandristic' before. Now I've looked it up, thuogh, I'm seriously reconsidering my blind date with Miss Andrist this evening!

I always read on trains now, rather than listen to music. Initially it was to save my poor lugholes from further tinnitus, but now I wouldn't have it any other way as I'm finding I'm getting far more reading done on public transport than at home.

stephen said...

Great post! I've learnt a new word as well. Thanks Marianthi. x

Colin said...

My dictionary doesn't even have the word misandristic in it! Silly webster's II new riverside dictionary!

I read rabbit, run a long time ago and remember it being quite good as well. I am afraid if I read it again, I'll have a midlife crisis, tho!


Rupert Cook said...

Is misandristic a word? I think you mean misandry. I think I'm too young to appreciate Updike, another 5 years when some sort of life crisis sets in.

Marianthi said...

Misandristic derives from misandry in the same way that misogynistic derives from misogyny. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Heh, in the first book Rabbit is 26. It's never too early for a massive life crisis.

Thank you everyone for your comments. xx