More thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker

NOTE. Spoilers follow!

A couple of days since I saw The Rise of Skywalker, my desire to see it again keeps getting stronger. Our middle son gets back from university this afternoon, so the plan is to watch our DVDs of Episodes VII and VIII, then go back to the cinema to see IX.

The same day I first blogged about this film, my long-time friend and colleague Matt Wedel also wrote about it (amusingly, leading off with the same opening image), and he has already followed up with a second post: I recommend both.

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A few thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker

WARNING. This article will be full of spoilers. Don’t read it if you haven’t seen the film yet. Or, if you do, don’t complain. Spoilers follow the spoiler space.

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What now?

There is actually something curiously liberating about having been crushed so utterly in the General Election. I don’t know who first said “It’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope”, but it’s very true. The UK I now live in bears so little resemblance to the country I thought I lived in, and that I loved, that I find myself now emotionally numb to the pain it’s going to put itself through — I have finally attained the ability to think of it as Somebody Else’s Problem.

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C. S. Lewis on the 2019 general election

From our old friend C. S. Lewis:

If we are going to be destroyed by a far-right government, let that government when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about politics. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

That’s got to be my strategy. Fury, denial, despair — none of these will help. Simply getting on with life just might.

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Richard Shindell’s song The Next Best Western

Let’s just pretend today’s election never happened, and speak of better things.

Around the turn of the millennium, I worked at a small company in North London. We had a shared MP3 server: we all put some of our favourite songs on it, and we could all listen to each other’s. That’s how I discovered the brilliant singer-songwriter Dar Williams, who was the choice of my colleague Andrew Eland. In 2009, reading a review of one of Dar’s albums, I read on to the second half of that article which was about Richard Shindell’s album Reunion Hill. Based on the very positive review, I bought the album and loved it.

The opening song on that album is The Next Best Western, and it quickly became one of my favorite songs: so much so that when in 2011 I started playing and singing in folk clubs, it was the very first song I ever performed. So it’s particularly special to me.

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How to vote in the forthcoming election

I was at a friend’s house last night, as she said she was surprised I’d not written anything about the forthcoming General Election. When she pointed it out, I was surprised, too — but, really, the whole thing is so utterly wretched that it’s difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for.

But of course it does matter, and more than any election in my lifetime. That’s because, while normally no parliament can bind its successor, Johnson’s Tories will make a permanent break with our biggest and closest trading partner — a break that will be impossible for a subsequent parliament to mend, because it’s dependent on a third party.

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 33

Ordeal by Innocence — Agatha Christie

Apparently one of Christie’s two favourites among her own books (along with Crooked House), and I can understand why. The two books share dark atmospheres, with the multi-generational inhabitants of houses deeply mistrusting each other. Some of Christie’s books feel like games; this one feels serious. The protagonist is a man who was unwittingly the alibi of a murder suspect who was convicted two years earlier and has subsequently died in jail. When he realises this, he goes to the dead man’s family to tell them the good news that he was not, after all, the murderer — only to find that they are not delighted. He had failed to realise that his news meant that one of the other family members had done it, and that they were therefore still living with a murderer. Good stuff; but not a good jumping-on point for new readers, as it’s rather atypical. Continue reading