Together at the End of the World

The weight of his hand at the small of her back is warm and comforting to him.

The curve of her spine and the fabric of her shirt against his palm is tying him to the earth. In some way, everything feels more acute and clearer today; the borders and lines of his surroundings are much more crisp. When her body pulls away from his hand as she goes to sit into the backseat of the vehicle, he dips it into his coat pocket and slides his sunglasses into place over his eyes. Everything is so bright today.

She is sitting as far to the left of the backseat as she can, with her right knee crossed over left, looking out the window. She is – in an aimless sort of way – entirely unaware of the way she holds him to the planet; the way that she is his gravity center and he orbits around her. Sitting so much farther from her than he would hope to be, he allows himself to fill as much of the space between their bodies. His knees wide and his hand rests awkwardly against the hot, black leather of the seat. It reminds him of being sixteen and on his first date with a girl who’s name he barely remembers now; his hand palm up and open on the arm rest between them, an invitation to her to take it if she so desired. That girl then didn’t and he knows that this girl now won’t either.

The vibrations of the wheels on the hot asphalt are loud inside the cabin of the car and his head is hurting him. Using his right thumb and forefinger, he pushes beneath the nose of his sunglasses and pinches hard at the bridge where they sit and sighs hard.

“What’s wrong?” Her voice cuts through the silence between them in a way that grips at his chest.

He can only shake his head in the negative. “Nothing. Nothing, just a headache.” Everything is so bright today. And you. You make my brain vibrate.

That is enough for her and she turns back to the window so he turns to his. Resting his forehead against the sun-warmed glass he looks up into the clear, bright, easy blue of the summer sky – looking for the hazy orb of the moon sometimes present in the middle of the day. He finds it there, only not like an apparition or something viewed through a veil. What he sees is a ball of flame. It looks more like the sun than it does the moon. A red explosion appeared to be issuing from the upper left of the sphere. He would call it a solar flare if he didn’t know any better.

He stared with speechless awe for a moment – watching the moon flare like the great star – before turning to her. “Anne, do you see the moon right now?”

She moved next to him – her knee pressing against his – and leaned over his body, bracing herself by placing an open hand against the top of his leg. His senses drowned one another out, each one louder than the last, at the closeness of her to him. He leaned a fraction of a motion closer to her and inhaled quietly the smell of her hair.

“What about it?”

He had forgotten entirely for a beat why she was in his space and what had so startled him as to be able to use her name, let alone speak to her. After all this time they’ve known each other, he can’t imagine how she still manages to make him nervous just by being beside him. Returning his attention to the skies, he finds the moon in its normal mid-day state. Full and ghostly white; an entirely unassuming satellite, hanging as it would on any other day. She was still close against him as he shrugged.

“I don’t know. Weird. I could’ve sworn that it–”

As he went to finish his sentence and describe to her what he thought he’d seen, the mass began to crumble. At the lower right – in a diagonal line from where he’d seen the flare – it appeared to be imploding, sucking in on itself completely. As they watched out the window the moon began to break apart, massive chunks breaking away before being pulled back through a vacuum. The entire orb exploded into flame.

He heard her breathe, “This is it, isn’t it?”

He didn’t respond, only leaned his head back against the seat and continued to watch the fire in the sky. He knew all of the things people believed would happen if the moon was suddenly lost. The earth would fall off its axis, the crust would begin shifting and not stop, seasons would cease and the tides would fall. Despite his scientific mind knowing that this was all incredibly unlikely, he found that it was difficult to think rationally as he stared at the sky exploding. She had moved back to her place, however not as far away this time, and he reached for her hand. She took it, slipping her fingers effortlessly between his; her knuckles against his knuckles, her fingertips resting against the top of his hand. Squeezing, she held on so tightly.

Closing his eyes, he tried hard to focus on her finger bones squeezing against the bones of his. He tried not to focus on or realise the sucking feeling that was beginning to take over the car, the world, his body. It felt to him the sensation of falling in a dream; that suck at the back of his stomach. It was losing gravity and beginning to float and exist everywhere and nowhere all at once. And somehow, with all the lightness, it was pressure. It was pressure pushing hard against his head and chest, his lungs and eyes and his brain. Just pressure.

Her finger bones against his finger bones, he held tighter onto her hand and using the last breath in his lungs before it was forced away and his body exploded, he spoke. “I love you.” He hoped that she knew the width and depth of it. Using his last breath to tell her, instead of holding onto it as long as he was able, seemed an important thing. Her fingers squeezed tighter onto his for an instant and then everything blinked out. Was gone. It was like a breath, a sharp gasp. That was how the world ended for she and him, in fire and a gasp. Life and love and heartache, hurt and smiles and sex and tears and finger bones against finger bones vanished.

Everything was just so bright that day and she made his brain vibrate so.

Tuesday, May 1st 12 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

10 (well, 12) Albums of 2011.

Jack’s Mannequin / People and Things
Favourite tracks: Hostage, Platform Fire and Amy, I

Florence + the Machine / Ceremonials
Favourite tracks: Shake It Out, What the Water Gave Me and Heartlines

Gotye / Making Mirrors
Favourite tracks: Somebody That I Used to Know, In Your Light and Bronte

Jay-Z and Kanye West / Watch the Throne
Favourite tracks: Church in the Wild, H·A·M and Why I Love You

Adele / 21
Favourite tracks: One and Only, Rumour Has It and Turning Tables

City & Colour / Little Hell
Favourite tracks: We Found Each Other in the Dark, O’ Sister and Fragile Bird

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross / The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Original Score
Favourite tracks: She Reminds Me of You, Immigrant Song (Karen O), Please Take Your Hand Away and Revealed in the Thaw

Coldplay / Mylo Xyloto
Favourite tracks: Paradise, Don’t Let it Break Your Heart and Major Minus

Rachael Yamagata / Chesapeake
Favourite tracks: Even If I Don’t, You Won’t Let Me and Full On

Blake Shelton / Red River Blue
Favourite tracks: Over, I’m Sorry and Drink On It

Honourable Mentions:
Stateless / Matilda
Favourite tracks: I’m On Fire and Miles to Go

Lady Gaga / Born This Way
Favourite tracks: Edge of Glory, Bloody Mary and Government Hooker

Tuesday, January 3rd 12 at 11:54 am 1 comment

10 Movies of 2011.

I am, at Kevin’s urging, finally doing these posts. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I was completely taken aback by all the changes in the wordpress dashboard. In the coming year, I will strive to blog more frequently. Swear.
It felt a bit like the year was lacking in an abundance of real awesome movies. In fact, this could have been a list of maybe just seven or eight. But nonetheless, here’s ten films that I enjoyed most of all last year.

Note: There are no stars in the insert symbol menu so I’ll be rating out of five ♦.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
From the first trailer that was nothing more than Karen O screaming Immigrant Song and shots of a snow covered house, I couldn’t wait. The book was one of the best that I read last year and despite not really being a mystery fan, I literally couldn’t put it down. From the original film adaptation, David Fincher’s remake was leaps and bounds an improvement. Everything about it was so much better than I could have imagined it would be. The scenery, the direction, the sets, the props, the music and especially the actors. Daniel Craig was brilliant as Mikael Blomkqvist and I was completely floored by Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Every lesbian I know (on the internet, you know) is sad and stands by Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, but she’s got nothing on Mara – in any arena. I loved every moment of this movie and have been thinking about it obsessively since the moment it ended.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II
Can you guess how much I cried both times watching this in the theatre? Is “the whole way through” your choice? Because it is the correct one. I kid you not, once I started – about fifteen minutes in – I essentially did not stop. It was perfect and exactly what I expected it to be, and exactly what it needed to be. Life without Harry Potter is going to be really weird and I’m still as sad about it this year as I was last year.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Bellflower
This movie started out a bit slow and about fifteen minutes in, I was really considering turning it off and just calling it a loss. I am so glad that we didn’t because once it got going it was just fantastic. Bellflower is the story of two friends who spend all their time planning for the apocalypse by building flame throwers and building their bad-ass apocalypse-mobile Medusa; but then Woodrow meets a girl. The climax of the film is so completely amazing and jaw dropping. This movie is so worth the time. The moral of the story is that women ruin everything.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦½

Scream 4
I was initially worried for the quality of this movie, because the last two had been sort of crap and Wes Craven hadn’t done anything good in a really, really long time. Oh, how wrong I was. Scream 4 was everything it needed to be. It was gruesome, funny, shocking and totally fucking awesome. Sidney Prescott is the Lori Strode for my generation and that’s perfect. Also, I can never tire of Gale Weathers.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Super 8
Kristi had been so excited to see this but I was on the fence. In the end, I’m so glad that we went because it was really one of the most enjoyable films of the year for me. The train crash in the first third of the movie was one of the most incredible effects ever and the story was really just very sweet. Who doesn’t ever hope or wish that their town could be inhabited by an alien? Just me? Oh. Anyway, I love child actors.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦½

Fright Night
David Tennant. That’s all.
Oh, but also Colin Farrell, who I don’t normally enjoy, was really creepy and great as the vampire neighbor. It was quite a bit different from the original but still maintained the integrity of it and told a great story. It’s always a bonus for me too when great nods to the original are contained. Bonus cameo from Chris Sarandon and that terrifying vampire face from the poster.
Rating: ♦♦♦½

Bridesmaids
Funniest shit ever. Way funnier than those stupid Hangover movies could ever hope to be. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are perfect. Bonus hilarious (and hilariously unexpected) performance from Rose Byrne. It feels like you just never stop laughing and it will always kill me when Maya Rudolph just sits down in the street while she’s wearing that wedding dress.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Paul
I will watch anything with Simon Pegg and it’s always nice when Nick Frost is on for the ride as well. The supporting cast of this movie was awesome with Seth Rogan, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver. As an X Files obsessed believer in aliens, the reality of this movie is like a most fantastical dream.
Rating: ♦♦♦½

Beginners
A late entry on the list, we just watched this last week. It was exactly what I like in a movie. It was sad, quirky, romantic and featured animations and a talking dog. God, I love indie movies. It tells the story of a son coping with the recent death of his recently announced gay father while falling in love with a sad, quirky, romantic French actress. Ewan McGregor is so cute and I really enjoy Mélanie Laurent.
Rating: ♦♦♦½

The Devil’s Double
This movie tells the true story of the man chosen to be the double for Sadaam Hussein’s son, Uday. It featured really stellar acting from Dominic Cooper in the role of both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia and was a very intriguing, interesting and frightening story. Well worth the two hours.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Tuesday, January 3rd 12 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Hello WordPress. Long time, no see.

Just wanted to let you know that I’m still here. Albeit a little dry for non-fiction words. But still here.

Saturday, July 23rd 11 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

10 Movies of 2010.

And now it’s time for the movies version! I had to hold off on writing this one until we’d seen Black Swan. And well… we’ve definitely seen it, so it is time to soldier on. This list is my favourite one to do. Lists lists lists.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
Obviously. I had so many Harry Potter related feelings this fall that I literally sat for days and dreaded the release of this movie. I’m fairly certain that I held my breath approximately 73% of the time during my first viewing even though I was prepared for and knew what was going to happen. It’s been really amazing watching these kids grow up and get super good looking; but even more so getting to see live action representations of things imagination can only take so far. Ralph Fiennes is stunning, Helena Bonham Carter is perfect and Emma Watson carried the whole thing on her very intelligent shoulders. The Harry and Hermione dancing scene made my secret inner lover of that pair twirl in delight. They were really able to make this adaptation almost completely perfect. I have already begun preparing my stash of tissues for the coming release of Part II.

Black Swan
I have spent a lot of time over the last eleven years being in awe at the places Natalie Portman is able to take herself in her roles. V for Vendetta left me breathless and her variations in Closer never fail to impress me. But, as anyone who’s seen this movie can attest to, she transcends to a completely different level as Nina Sayers. She navigates a role with a million different complexities with a complete mastery and effortlessness. This movie had me utterly captivated from the moment it began and thinking about it and asking questions for days after we left the theatre. It was creepy, it was scary, it was sexy, it was dangerous and beautiful and it was so far, the very pinnacle of her talent.

Shutter Island
Shutter Island
was that movie where, when you saw the previews on television, you thought for a moment and went “That’s the most obvious ‘twist’ I’ve ever seen.” And that was all before you even saw the movie itself. However, Leonardo DiCaprio is really talented and there’s more than one twist to the ending of this movie. Beyond that, it succeeds in making you feel completely isolated, trapped and panicked. Sure, the basic gist is plain within the first thirty minutes. But that’s okay because it has its own atmospheric pressure to it and before it’s over, you’re wondering who really is the crazy one here. And if it might even be you.

Splice
This movie was so weird and bizarre that I don’t think you can really prepare yourself for it. It’s three parts science fiction, two parts whoa, that’s fucked up and one part horror. It really helps to be morally ambiguous when watching this movie because if you can’t get beyond the idea of scientists “playing god,” then there’s really no point in venturing into Splice. And really, that’s the very base of levels that are reached. The first viewing is rife with tension and anxiety. The most horrific thing about it is the pondering of the extents that humans will go. To get what they want, to gain notoriety, to stop what they’re afraid of.

Inception
I don’t even know where to begin talking about Inception and how great and mind bending it is. Anything coupling Chris Columbus, Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Ken Watanabe together has “amazing” written all over it. The visuals were so stunning and impressive and it is literally the most original and unique story probably ever. My brain thought so hard that I still probably don’t have it all figured out. In fact, it is definitely time for a return viewing. DID THE TOP EVER STOP SPINNING?!

 

The Human Centipede
I think there’s probably three categories of people when it comes to The Human Centipede.

  1. People who watched it enthusiastically and loved it.
  2. People who were too grossed out and terrified by the concept to even think about watching it.
  3. People who watched it and hated it.

I happen to fall into the first category. And with no shame whatsoever. This movie was sick, depraved and totally awesome. It straddled very carefully the incredibly fine line between horrifying, disgusting and strangely funny.  The “You are the middle piece!” scene was one of the best cinematic moments of the entire year. No shame.

Catfish
While watching this movie, your feelings about it run the entire gamut of emotion. Initially, it’s sort of creepy and you feel uncomfortable about this guy and like, what is he even doing? And then you start to feel sort of confused and scared and like something bad is about to happen. Then in the final third of the movie, you’ve rounded back to uncomfortable and creeped out except now you’re on his side and you just feel bad and sort of sad for him. The tag-line that was advertised with the previews was “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is” and you probably should hope that no one does before you watch it because the big reveal is a literal codfish moment. One of the best documentaries of the year, definitely.

Toy Story 3
Kristi thought it was real funny how much I cried watching this. The first Toy Story came out when I was ten years old. It was real exciting because it was kind of the first animated movie in that style and it just looked so amazing and real. Over the last fifteen years, a lot more movies have been done in that style and they’ve looked better and more life-like, but Toy Story is still the most special one. Buzz and Slinky Dog and The Potatoheads and Rex and Woody… especially Woody. They were the best. The moment at the end when Bonnie waves Woody’s hand goodbye to Andy and he gasps; that was the moment. You know, even at 26, I still remember my most favourite thing from when I was little – it was one of these guys. I called him Wrinkle and my mom had a special voice she’d use with him when she’d tuck me in for bed. It instantly turned me into a fit of giggles every time, because I loved him so much. I have him still, in a box; even though he has replacement eyes (buttons), his tongue and nose and been chewed on and he no longer has a sporty jumper to wear. Everyone knows what it’s like to love a toy the way Andy loved Woody, and I think that’s why Toy Story is just so damn special to me.

A Single Man
So technically this came out in 2009. But I really don’t care because it was one of the best movies we watched last year, of which there were many. Julianne Moore is flawless, as ever. But Colin Firth is so completely perfect as a grieving man just looking for some way to feel anything other than hollow. Everything about this movie was beautiful and perfect; the cinematography, the direction, the music, the design, the acting. It was just flawless. I hope Tom Ford continues doing movies because if A Single Man is any indication of what he’s capable of, it could only mean good things.

Wednesday, January 12th 11 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

10 Albums of 2010.

Probably my favourite thing about the end of a year is that there is never any shortage of top ten and best of lists. I have this thing where I really love lists. I’m sure you’ve noticed. There are approximately 26 titles tagged with “list” on this blog. My favourite end of the year lists to make are my top ten favourite movies and albums that’ve been released over the past twelve months. This particular edition is the music one. Lists lists lists.

Robyn – Body Talk Pt. 1, 2, & 3
Up until about six weeks ago I was painfully oblivious to Robyn and her fantastic hair. She guested on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and gave a performance of Dancing On My Own that I was completely riveted to. It was stuck in my head for days after. Since then I have been listening to the entirety of the Body Talk trilogy on an almost veritable loop. Kristi doesn’t understand what it is I so much love about her and I’m not sure how to explain it. The beats are insane, she makes me want to dance even though I can’t (I’m consistently impressed with her moves), and In My Eyes really gives me an odd sort of comfort (sort of like how Lady GaGa’s Dance in the Dark did last year).
Favourite tracks: In My Eyes, Dancing on my Own, Indestructible, Call Your Girlfriend

The National – High Violet
The best way I can think to describe this album is that it heavy like a weight and hard like bricks and cuts me completely to pieces. Every single song is beautiful and perfect, building slow and deep. While Matt sings exquisitely written lyrics in his rich, smooth voice. I had a difficult time getting into The National before this album. But High Violet is just a completely perfect piece of art. It’s impossible to deny it.
Favourite tracks: Conversation 16, England, Lemonworld

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy, Stripped Down
Finding out that Yoko Ono was releasing a “naked” version of John’s final album (my favourite), Double Fantasy, to commemorate his 70th birthday was a total thrill. Listening to it for the first time felt like it was a gift from her, from John; for John, for me. His voice rings out so crisp, it’s perfect. Every single little detail of his speech is so clear. I love remastered versions for this quality. It is like hearing him right inside your brain.
Favourite tracks: Watching the Wheels, Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), I’m Losing You

Fistful of Mercy – As I Call You Down
Fistful of Mercy is the side project for Dhani Harrison – George’s son; some guy named Ben Harper (jk) and Joseph Arthur, who is a boy with a really beautiful voice. The way these three harmonise is amazing. Harper’s more rough voice sounds so good over smoother, sweeter tones of Dhani and Arthur. I think a lot of people are most excited about this group because of Ben Harper, but the truth is that Dhani Harrison is almost as perfect as his father was and I would listen to him sing a phone book.
Favourite tracks: In Vain or True, With Whom You Belong

Gogol Bordello – Trans-Continental Hustle
Ever since I saw these guys open for Tegan and Sara in 2006, I’ve been hooked. They’re the most energetic and exciting live show I’ve ever seen and their albums stay fresh because the sound changes based on where Eugene Hutz is living at the time. For Hustle, he was living in Brazil and the music is infused with it in a perfect marriage with their natural sound. Instead of Ukranian and frantic like Gypsy Punk, or dirty and Brooklyn like Super Taranta!, it’s a little bit spicy and sexy and Portuguese.
Favourite tracks: My Companjera, Pala Tute, Immigrandia (We Comin’ Rougher)

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
While everyone else was fawning over Taylor Swift and her stupid song about Kanye at this year’s VMA’s; I was busy being amazed by Kanye himself and his red outfit. As if there was ever any doubt that he would outdo himself and deliver another incredible record, they were all completely dispelled within the first two minutes of this album. I don’t know much about “rap,” but I know that Kanye West is a genius and I could care less he’s the most arrogant man in the business. It’d be something different if it wasn’t totally warranted.
Favourite tracks: Power, Monster, All the Lights

Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run
Another remaster with that perfectly crisp and clear quality to it. Paul is a master of pop music and that is never more clear than the three songs in one that make Band on the Run. Let Me Roll It is the most perfect and simple love song in the history of love songs. And these remastered and cleaned up versions are just breathtaking.
Favourite tracks: Let Me Roll It, Band on the Run, Jet


Scissor Sisters – Night Work
There was something lacking in Ta-Dah that was recaptured with Night Work. Perhaps it was the dirty, it was the sex and it was the debauchery. Those elements are most definitely not lacking on this record. I can just picture Jake – all sweaty and half naked – doing a shimmy as he sings lyrics like “harder you get, all in my sweat, never too wet to want it all.” It is then… then that I know that the Filthy/Gorgeous Scissor Sisters are back.
Favourite tracks: Fire With Fire, Skin Tight, Whole New Way

Lissie – Catching a Tiger
Kristi and I were fortunate enough to see Lissie open for City and Colour way back at the beginning of the year. She’s got the most beautiful, haunting voice. In the months between the show and this release I completely played out her e.p. Why You Runnin’. This first full length record is a force of beauty and sadness, love and loneliness. The most played song in my entire iTunes library is on this album.
Favourite tracks: Worried About, When I’m Alone, In Sleep


Angus and Julia Stone – Down the Way
Of all the things Autostraddle has taught me or told me about this year, these two are very near the top of my favourites. Beautiful voices, beautiful lyrics and beautiful music. What more could you possibly ask for. This album is top to bottom gorgeous.
Favourite tracks: For You, Walk it Off, I’m Not Yours

Friday, December 31st 10 at 4:29 am 1 comment

21.08.2010

The feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials. And commercials. And a really bad about love that had the word “baby” in it. And then more commercials. And finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.

“I feel infinite.”

And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was great and we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way. I have since bought the record and I would tell you what it was, but truthfully, it’s not the same unless you’re driving to your first real party, and you’re sitting in the middle seat of a pickup with two nice people when it starts to rain.

When moments like that happen, it’s usually when you’re not really looking for it or paying attention too hard. They usually happen at the simplest of times, when everything is normal and quiet. Infinity can be found in the smell of a newborn baby’s head, a boy wishing on pennies in a fountain, your very favourite song live for the first time or a quiet moment with yourself.

We pulled back and relcined against the cement of the driveway. It was warm from the day and smelled like dirt and sun and I could feel tiny grains of grit pushing into my skin as my arms propped my head. Kristi layed back down into me – resting her body against mine – and her dad was laid next to her. The three of us, in a row, with our feet in the grass and our skulls against the pavement. Our eyes were to the stars. It’s so full and dark out where they live that you can almost see every illumination against the night sky. I had the stunning and shrinking realisation that they were all enormous balls of fire burning a million billion miles away. And I felt so small.

There was a wind blowing over our bodies, from right to left (the direction that they read it in some countries). It was heavy and fast enough to push my hair back from my forehead, but not enough that I cared how it looked. It was cool enough to make me think ‘a sweater would be nice,’ but not enough that I needed one.

There’s a big tree in the front yard and as the wind passed through its branches, the leaves rustled. There was country music to the right and voices all around, but the only thing that I heard was the wind pushing the leaves against each other. It was so loud and quiet at the same time. Just that perfect rustling sound. As the branches moved back and forth, the light that shone against the leaves caused them to look like they were glittering. Like sunlight shining through a pool or a candle flame behind textured glass.

All I kept thinking was ‘I love this moment, I love these people.’ I love this moment.

I love these people.

Thursday, August 26th 10 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

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