Posted in entertainment, film, movies, Review

Ghostbusters

ghostbusters_cI queued up around the block to watch the original Ghostbusters in the winter of 1984. Those were the days, eh? I think in my life there have been no more than five occasions when the queue for the cinema tailed down the street and around the corner. If you’re somewhere near the back, you’d be thinking, no way we’re getting in, but you would persevere and be surprised. Cinema auditoria were big in those days.

I remain convinced that the version of Ghostbusters I saw back then was different to the version that has survived to this day. I’m convinced it was a 15 certificate at first but was then cut down to a PG version due to its popularity. And then the 15 version was lost forever. See, when I watched it again, later, it seemed to me that the comic timing was off, that the film was less coherent, that this artefact that had lost its power to move me had been bowdlerised.

Anyway, I’m probably delusional. Probably the film wasn’t that great after all, and I was just caught up in the excitement and atmosphere generated by queueing around the block.

Which brings us to Ghostbusters, the reboot, or 2016 version. As to the manufactured controversy about the casting: not going to dignify it with any more comment than this: the Saturday Night Live school of comedy produces comedians of a very similar bent. Doesn’t matter if they’re male or female, they’re all pretty much the same. I think the SNL comedy style is a bit laboured, a bit forced – the kind of thing that’s funnier in the telling than it is in the watching. Tina Fey excepted.

I saw it at the still-new Odeon at Milton Keynes Stadium. This place never seems that busy. It was a Wednesday, I was in the 2D screening, it was quiet. Which is disappointing, because at least it would be something if people were queuing around the block. I genuinely think a lot of people aren’t aware of the new Odeon. The facilities aren’t bad. The place is clean, and doesn’t smell of rancid fat like the one in the Xscape in MK.

The film was OK. Moderately entertaining, one good jump scare. A couple of laugh-out-loud lines, some winning performances. But as a film, kind of instantly forgettable. Some new twists on the theme, but it’s basically Ghostbusters, so a recycled story from our zombie culture, our stuck culture, as Adam Curtis puts it.

I thought it was too loud, and I felt our seats were slightly too close to the screen. The Odeon chooses to charge extra for the plum (“Premium”) seats. Very few people occupy them. It’s a terrible waste, but fuck ’em.

The other technical issue I have is with digital projection and jitter. Static shots are fine, but as soon as the camera moves, especially if people are moving, it just jitters. With film, of course, you get analogue blurring, which is fine. But digital jitter gets on my nerves. And once I see it, I can’t stop seeing it.

So: an entertaining popcorn distraction, instantly forgettable, but enjoyable (technical issues aside) for the most part. That feels like three stars to me.

 

Here’s the thing

vote-labour-key-posterThe last thing the world needs right now is another column inch about Corbyn, so here are several.

I’m no psephologist but I know what one is, and I know they’ve all done the maths, concluding that Labour under Corbyn will not be able to persuade those I’m-all-right-Jacks in the Southeast of Englandland to vote for him.

So the whole idea behind the Labour Party parliamentary putsch has been to restore the idea of a Labour Party that can win some marginal seats in Southern Britain. Because they’re right, aren’t they? No way the former Mondeo Man, now the BWM 3-series Man, or Audi Q5 Woman, are going to vote against their own self interests. They never have. People vote for the party they think will make them richer.

The “miracle” Blair achieved was to create a Labour Party so right wing that people in the marginals actually voted for it. So now the Received Wisdom forever more will be that for Labour to win an election, they have to be exactly the same as the Tories on almost every issue, even as far as agreeing spending plans and welfare cuts.

Meanwhile, large swathes of Britain were taken for granted or forgotten. And into that vacuum of giving a shit stepped the nationalist parties, the SNP and UKiP. And there went Labour’s core support. Which means that Received Wisdom in the right wing of the Labour Party is that they have to also make the same noises about immigration as the UKiP as well as agreeing to punish the poor for being poor.

And here’s the thing. Once you’ve gone that far, once you’ve lost Scotland and your more racist former supporters are voting UKiP, and all the noises you’re making are exactly the same noises as the Nasty Party, well who gives a shit about you any more?

Which is where Corbyn fits. We need, so desperately, a mass movement of Labour similar to that of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Because out here in the real world, things are pretty fucking horrible. We’ve got a new generation of robber barons bleeding us dry; obscene levels of inequality; the steady erosion of hard-won rights; and a Parliamentary Labour Party (mostly lawyers) that votes, over and over, against the interests of working people. So when a new mass movement elects Corbyn as Labour leader, it’s not about winning elections. If the cost of winning elections is to be a a slightly pinker version of the Tory Party, what’s the point? Labour lost the right to rule when Gordon Brown bailed out the banks and then allowed the narrative of the financial crash to get out of his control.

All of the anti-Corbyn arguments are about winning elections, but those are the wrong arguments. It’s the differend, people. We’re arguing about different things. Winning elections really isn’t the point, unless is means higher taxes for the rich; the private corporations out of the NHS; and end of free schools, academies and grammar schools; a living wage; a ban on zero hours contracts; and a new programme of public spending (who pays? you do). We don’t need a Labour Party in power who just apes the Tories. What we need is a Labour movement designed to raise the consciousness of a new generation and agitate for progressive social change. We need a movement that’s fit for purpose and for the long term benefit of working people. And if that means a few empty Labour suits lose their comfortable seats in Westminster over the short term, well, good.

Posted in Books, entertainment, Review

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

0007480172.02.LZZZZZZZThis was recommended on one of the Incomparable podcasts, I think. I picked it up after giving up on radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. It has taken me a long time to read, but not because I haven’t been enjoying it.

The premise is fascinating: what if two mythical creatures from two middle-eastern traditions should meet? Where would such a meeting take place? Why, of course, in the melting pot of New York City in the late 19th Century.

So here we have a story of immigration and assimilation, and the curious melding of cultures that took place at the height of mass migration. One by one, our characters make their way to New York. The djinni, naturally, arrives in a brass vessel in need of some repair. The golem is created on behalf of a man who wants a good wife to take with him to the New World. Impatient (and sick), he speaks the spell to wake her on the voyage over and then promptly dies, leaving her without a master. (A great metaphor for how some people come unstuck from their traditions in the transformation from one national identity to another.)

The djinni is trapped in human form; the golem does not sleep. Both have to adapt to a new way of life; both feel restless and hungry for something more. Inevitably, they meet. In seeking solutions for their various problems, they both create greater challenges and events spin out of their control. There are many intertwined sub-plots based around other characters who have in some way crossed paths with these magical entities. As such, the main plot moves slowly at times, and – considered on its own – is relatively slight. If there’s a fault here it’s that an awful lot of back story gets delivered by telling rather than showing, as information dumps – though these aren’t all at the beginning, at least. Still, it’s a shame that some plot mysteries are delivered in this way rather than being revealed by action.

Worth a read, though, and a fascinating and original premise.

Posted in entertainment, gigs, music, Review

12 Downloads for this summer

cover400x400Ahead of the epic car journeys of the summer, I like to stock up on new music. For recommendations, I turn to the Rolling Stone Country account and their regular lists of artists to check out.

That’s not the only way I find new music, but it’s a fairly reliable barometer in the absence of the UK iTunes store doing anything to update itself. Anyway, here are my recent adds.

  1. Donovan Woods – Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled. Got this because of his song “Portland, Maine”, covered by Tim McGraw. He’s a great songwriter with a voice that doesn’t match his face. Sounds are Americana-standard, acoustic in the main.
  2. Amanda Shires – Carrying Lightning. Discovering new music on iTunes is hard, partly because of the problem of categories. They have a Country section (not regularly updated) and a Singer/Songwriter section, but there is no Americana (or alt-country) and no Folk or Folk-Rock. There is plenty of music that would fit in either of these categories. Anyway, Amanda Shires Isbell (married to the similarly hard-to-discover Jason Isbell) kind of sways between Country-Americana and Singer-Songwriter. Pretty good.
  3. Keith Urban – Ripcord. Keith Urban has  made a reappearance on UK iTunes after a gap where several albums weren’t even given a UK release. This one is fairly standard: rock-pop/country with some decent guitar. His voice is limited: with the right song, it’s perfectly fine, but when he strains for those emotions he sometimes seems, well, strained. The standout track on this is “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” which is a hooky little number on which Urban plays lead bass.* I can’t stop playing it
  4. William Bell – This is Where I Live. This was a Twitter recommendation. A radio producer I follow got an early listen of this (it’s not properly out yet) and named it the album of the year. You can get three tracks now, and the rest should drop by the end of the week. It’s a soul record in the classic style, a throwback to 60s song values with 2016 production values. This is the one I’d be slipping into playlists and mixtapes if I still did that sort of thing, ahem.
  5. Brandy Clark – Big Day in a Small Town. The best songwriter of the “class of 2013”, Brandy Clark’s follow up to 12 Stories is bigger in every way. This new outing features some powerful songs, including the jaw-dropping “Daughter”, which basically wishes a daughter upon a cheating, lying male in the name of karma: so he can watch her get her heart broken by men like him. You think you’ve heard it all, and then this. Essential listening.
  6. Imogen Clark – Love and Lovely Lies. Another hard-to-discover artist. This one I came across when she guested on a podcast (My Favourite Album). At just 8 tracks and 35 minutes, this album is a proper throwback to the golden age of albums, when they were almost all about this long. Another artist with a strong voice and punch-packing songs, don’t be fooled by her appearance into thinking this is going to be some kind of folky background muzak.
  7. Larkin Poe – Reskinned. The Lovell sisters seem determined to leave their folk-country roots behind them. So much so, that they’ve remixed and revamped their album Kin, changing some of the tracks and giving the whole thing a harder, rock-stomping edge. If you follow them on Twitter or Facebook you’ll know that they’re both shredding like mad these days and Rebecca has started playing a Strat through a Big Muff distortion pedal. Talk about trying to reposition yourself in the market: unfortunately, these brilliant 20-something musicians will still find themselves staring at an audience of grizzled, balding 50-somethings, because those are the people who go to (non-festival/arena) gigs.
  8. Frankie Ballard – El Rio. Frankie Ballard’s latest is a real step up in quality from his previous release (2014’s Sunshine and Whiskey). The songwriting is better, and his gravelly but versatile voice is the one Keith Urban wishes he had. You can hear the influence of Bob Seger on the whole record (plus there’s a cover of “You’ll Accompn’y Me”). This is a really enjoyable album packed full of decent songs, like “El Camino”, “L.A. Woman” and “It All Started With a Beer”. Great for a road trip.
  9. Smithfield – Smithfield. This is on Rolling Stone’s July list. Another 8-tracker, these guys are like the new Sugarland or something, which, in the absence of Sugarland, will do.
  10. Anthony D’Amato – Cold Snap. Another one from the RS list, I’ve only played this through once but like it a lot. (Almost) like Frankie Ballard, this is country rock via the Jersey Shore. Where Ballard takes his influence from Detroit (Seger), you can hear Springsteen here, but also Ryan Adams, and Tom Petty references, if you like that sort of thing – and who doesn’t?
  11. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers – Sidelong. Another RS recommendation, this feels more like a punt for me. I’m thinking this is cowpunk, in the vein of Lone Justice. With songs titled “Dwight Yoakam” and “Fuck Up,” this can’t be wrong, can it?
  12. Lucie Silvas – Letters to Ghosts. Finally, this is a British-born, New Zealand-raised country artist who has (for whatever reason) waited years between album releases. Again, I’ve barely listened to this, but the title track is excellent, and it finishes with a spooky cover of Roy Orbison’s “You Got It”, which shows good taste, if nothing else.

*For non-religionists, like me, I looked it up. This verse is the one that basically summarises the new testament in a line: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

Posted in bastards

43-year itch

maxresdefaultI went to bed on Thursday night complacently believing that the British people would have voted decisively to remain in the European Union. In fact, during the day itself, I began to believe that the result wouldn’t even be close. As I read the bedtime YouGov poll, showing Remain on 52%, I even said to myself, it’ll be more like 55-45 in the end, a 10-point margin.

Which is why, on Friday morning, I had the odd experience of literally not believing my eyes when I picked up my phone and viewed the result. It didn’t help that the Guardian had chosen a pale yellow colour for the Remain side, so I couldn’t quite read what was on my screen. But, yes, I actually rubbed my eyes, convinced they were lying to me through the bleary insomniac dawn.

Part of me, not a small part, is enjoying the resulting chaos. I currently owe more on my mortgage than I’ve ever saved in my pension. My take home pay and my pension have been steadily eroded over the past 10 years, and my future prospects were already bleak. So what if the currency crashes, if there’s inflation? I already live beyond my means. A little inflation would help reduce the relative value of my mortgage debt, and if some of the pain of the austerity years could be visited – finally – upon those responsible, I’m up for that.

To see the hated Cameron depart, to see the foaming, flaming Tories tearing each other apart: this is high-quality spectator sport.

I’m not surprised at the outcome. And I’m not surprised at the general fallout. In or out, makes no difference to most people; to those of us living with frozen pay, venal managers, looming threats over job security; or living in the zero hours land of the living dead; who fucking cares, stick it to the man, burn the whole shit house down.

42 years ago, in The Towering Inferno, Steve McQueen is told he’s going to have to go into the building to blow the tanks on the roof to put the fire out. When he realises he stands very little chance of getting out alive, he just says, “Shit,” and goes in.

That’s where a lot of us live. We’ve already, years ago, looked at our future prospects and said, simply, shit. And we carry on.

Because there’s very little chance we’ll come out of this well, is there? You know how I know? Because here, now, is the moment for a strong and principled opposition to step forward and – as a first order of business – bring the government down. Force a general election, pull something out of their asses like Harold Wilson in ’64 and ’74. Kick the Tories while they’re down and keep kicking until they stop twitching. But instead of doing that, they (the Parliamentary Labour Party) saw an opportunity to replace Corbyn. And they’re doing it, not just because they really hate Corbyn, but because they can see a scenario in which he could win a general election and prove them all wrong. And they can’t have that. A Labour victory now would expose them as the morally bankrupt careerists they are. They’d rather keep losing. They have to destroy the village in order to save it. And the most astonishing thing is, it was obviously planned that this would happen now. All the tin soldiers were in place, waiting for the moment.

Like the MI6 and the KGB during the Cold War, there’s a moral equivalency between the Tories and the majority of the PLP. They all voted to cut welfare. They all voted for the Iraq war. They’re all conniving careerist cunts.

Burn the whole shit house down.

Posted in musings

Half a Life

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 09.01.46

So I had been taking the Sertraline for about three weeks when I noticed how itchy I was getting. It had started before I noticed, but it was only when I consciously took stock that I started to wonder.

Extremities were effected first. Bottom of my legs, around the ankles. But only, really, my right leg. Then I got a severe itch around my collarbone. It was like an insect bite, but there was no identifiable bite. I’m used to suffering from insects. Then the general itch spread around my neck, which (again) was not unusual given that I often get shaving rash on my neck. Ankles, collarbone, neck. And then the blisters started appearing on my fingers. Tiny lumps which I at first thought might be warts (the horror!), but which are actually fluid-filled blisters which itch like crazy.

Then at the top of my leg on the left side of my groin, more itching. So now it feels like I’m itching all over. And itching begets itching, doesn’t it. Once skin is irritated, it’s irritated. You scratch, it begins to heal, it itches.

And then I thought, what if it’s the pills?

To be honest, I hadn’t really felt much in the way of side effects – or any effects, for that matter. That strange dizziness on day one, but by day two, I couldn’t really feel I was taking to drugs at all. After two weeks (probably already itching, but not making a connection), I spoke to the doctor, said I still wasn’t sleeping well, and wasn’t feeling any benefit – didn’t feel any different. She said give it longer. I’d been warned of all kinds of effects of these pills, by those with some experience. But I wasn’t feeling any different.

Except for the itching, which continued and finally came to my notice a week or so later.

After thirty doses, I realised I was going to have to stop taking them. Again: warnings. Feelings of anxiety, withdrawal symptoms. But given that I hadn’t been feeling anything much except itchy, I stopped the pills. Then wondered how long it would take for them to leave my system. They have a 24-hour half-life, apparently.

One spreadsheet later, I have worked out that it should take more or less a whole week for the sertraline to leave my system completely. As of today, I’ve probably got a 25mg dose inside me still. And I’m still itching. It was interesting to realise that a daily top-up of 50mg means you have a steady 100mg of the drug in your system after about a week of taking them. Which is why, I guess, they tell you it doesn’t start working properly for a couple of weeks: because you then need another week of being permanently at 100mg for the effects to be felt. In my case: itching.

Posted in Books, entertainment, Publishing, Review, Writing

Giving up on a book

Radiance-616x991I’ve walked out of a couple of films in my life, but I’ve almost never given up on a book. Especially a book I’ve bought. Especially especially a book I’ve bought in hardback.

But here it is. Radiance by Catherine M. Valente was on the honour list for the 2015 Tiptree Award and I ordered it and one of the others on the list out of interest. I often do this for the Nebula and Hugo award nominees, too. It’s a good way of discovering new authors.

It’s a hard book to describe. Some would say it was batshit crazy, which I have no objection to at all. It’s set in an alternate universe, where the planets of the solar system are like countries, relatively easy to get to, and inhabitable. And there’s a film industry which is apparently frozen in the silent era (and offworld) and, the novel is built up from documentary-like fragments, piecing together the story of a female director who went missing on Venus…

All of which sound all right. You know? But I just couldn’t get into it. It has that epistolary character, like a bad 19th century novel (like Dracula, say), and the pace drags and there’s no real narrative drive, and, well, it’s all very postmodern (or it might be modern, I didn’t get to the end), but I couldn’t suspend disbelief or get into it. I kept putting it down and picking it up, and it’s been next to my bed since the beginning of April, and I kept finding other things to read, and then trying it again. In the end, I was about halfway through and still not enjoying it – not even a little bit – and so, with regret, I give up. Fuck it.

I just couldn’t get behind this Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burrows, retro fantasy romance vision of interplanetary life, or care very much about the space whales and their milk, or the mystery of the missing director or the various other characters who have something to do with this film industry. I just didn’t see what difference it made that this was all taking place in space in an alternate universe instead of being about, say, early Hollywood and a director that went missing in Argentina or wherever.

Mixed emotions. I feel guilty and sorry for giving up, but at the same time relieved to be picking up the (2014 Nebula nominated) Golem and the Djinni instead.

 

Posted in bastards, musings

In or Out?

FishChips_Poster_720x430px_1I’m on record saying that the EU is profoundly undemocratic and so we should leave. It’s one of the ironies of modern politics that ultra-right wing Enoch Powell (for younger readers: a kind of better educated and less spiv-like version of Farage) and the renowned leftie Tony Benn were both on the same side of the European debate.

It’s enough to make your head spin. The EU is lots of bad things. There are too many appointed officials, commissioners, officers etc., who all owe their positions to patronage. Meanwhile, the actual EU parliament is toothless and pointless, populated by chancers and opportunists who have taken advantage of widespread public indifference and low turnout. The EU enshrines an unfair economic system and forces countries that join it to operate under the same, narrow set of neoliberal capitalist policies. It owes too much to the banks and the corporations.

EU environment is afflicted by the common agricultural policy, which has, over decades rewarded rich landowners who do shitty things to the land, destroying topsoil, chopping down hedgerows etc.

All of that is why I’ve always been kinda against our membership.

But when it comes to it, I’m voting in. And I’m not sure my reasons are solid, but here they are.

Firstly, if we are resigned to living under capitalism, and if capital (money) has free movement, then it stands to reason that people should too. I’m not just in favour of migration within the EU; I’d do away with passports and border controls all over the world. If the money can move, the people should follow. And if you want to restrict the free movement of people, then you have to restrict free trade. Which means tariffs and taxes and limits and quotas.

Secondly (which is still firstly), I hate this country and want the option, when I retire, of living elsewhere. That’s my selfish reason.

Thirdly, as bad and as undemocratic as the EU is, our current government is worse. Without the restraints offered by enshrined working rules and workers’ rights, businesses in this country would be able to treat their workers even worse than they currently do. We don’t do worker’s councils and workplace democracy like the Germans. If we did, I wouldn’t be so worried. I don’t understand why we don’t (except in the basest terms: that British bosses are cunts, always have been and always will be, thanks to the class system), but we, as workers, get more protection from our employers in the EU than we would out of it. We’re also signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is nothing to do with the EU, but is probably in the sights of the Brexiters.

So, one, two, three: but one and two are the same: free movement. And three: workers’ rights. Limits on working hours. Maternity and paternity leave. Holidays. Sick leave. Weekends. Just think: everything working people had to fight for over 100 years or so. How quickly would it all disappear if people like Mike Ashley, Boris, Gove, and Philip Green were given free rein?

Posted in concerts, entertainment, gigs, live, music, Review

Bruce at the Ricoh, Coventry

13308376_10153512132981555_4311945540071433760_oIt’s been 23 years since I last saw Springsteen live. That time, at the Milton Keynes Bowl, was disappointing. The Bowl is a terrible venue, for a start, and Bruce was without the E Street Band. The show was lacklustre, and has no fond memories for me. Prior to that, I saw him twice at Wembley. Having sworn off outdoor/stadium gigs forever after the Bowl, I didn’t expect to see him again. But then, turns out, my youngest daughter became a huge fan, and she’d been hankering to see him live for a couple of years.

So we booked tickets to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. As stadia go, it’s not too big (40,000 capacity for concerts – about half the size of Wembley), so weren’t too far from the stage. But it was still outdoors, and the sound wasn’t great.

We parked in one of the park and walk car parks – and paid handsomely for the privilege (£20, fucksake). We joined the throng at the nearby shopping centre and had a coffee in Costa and then some food. There were massive queues everywhere, but the car park bratwurst stand wasn’t too busy. An awful lot of people were drinking, clearly anticipating more rip-off prices in the venue. There’s not much dignity in that, is there? If only venue operators weren’t so greedy, eh?

Getting into the venue was hassle-free, and we didn’t have to wait too long for Springsteen to hit the stage, playing “For You” solo at the piano. There was no support, and he started fairly promptly after 6:30, then played through to 10 pm without a break. It was a 33-song set, with no fucking around. He generally counted into the next song while the final chord of the previous was still reverberating. He did a few sign requests, pulled a couple of kids from the audience, all the usual stuff. Each set list includes something not played on the tour yet. In the US, this was a play through of The River, but for the European stadium gigs, he’s playing a standard set, favouring The River slightly. Bruce Springsteen is 66 years old. (Nils is a whippersnapper at 64, Miami Steve is 65 etc.)

The highlight for me was “Drive All Night,” but perhaps the most affecting moment came during “10th Avenue Freeze Out” when a montage of Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici hit the screens following the line, “When the change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band…”

So it was all good, but then we had to get out and get home. Oh, man. I mean, you expect things to be bad. We were warned it could take up to 90 minutes. Well, it took 40 minutes to get out of the rip-off parking field. Then we were sitting in standing traffic for another half an hour, before pulling a U-turn and driving in the opposite direction until Google maps offered an alternative route (via the M40 rather than the M6). Anyway, three hours after the concert was over, we completed the one hour drive home.

 

 

Posted in bastards, entertainment, Review, Television

Top Gear was always a bit shit, wasn’t it?

misty mort 3Listening to the ATP guys discussing the ‘new’ BBC Top Gear, and noting the criticism on the Twitter and on Radio 4’s Media Show this week, I couldn’t help thinking, yes, but it stopped being any good a long time ago, didn’t it?

I was a young fan of the old, boring Top Gear, the one presented by William Woollard back in the day. The Clarkson Top Gear had its moments, when its budget was high and the stunts were a new thing, but then it quickly became a low-rent version of itself, growing ever more strident in its editorialising in an attempt to occlude the missing budget.

The thing about Clarkson’s Top Gear was it gave you three different types of Conservatism. There was James May, Telegraph columnist, a kind of traditional ‘one nation’ Conservative. There was Clarkson, libertarian neo-liberal, the quintessential representative of the Nasty Party. And there was Hammond, the local radio DJ who can’t believe his luck: the very image of a working class Tory.

All new Top Gear does is reveal the underlying staleness of the format. Chris Evans awkwardly trying to create camaraderie with Joey from Friends made everybody cringe, of course. Because if you’d thought about it for a second, the idea of the warm and fuzzy Ken Clarke-like James May bantering with the Trump-like Clarkson was similarly awkward.

Men talking about cars, like men talking about Golf, is simply their way of passing time before they die. Top Gear’s place on the Sunday schedule was to stave off that sinking feeling, that non-orgasmic la petite mort, you get when you remember it’s Monday tomorrow.