The Year of Words: Day 323 - Sets, Atreides and video tape.

It isn't often I find an archaic word I didn't know, hadn't heard and think is still relevant today. Today, an exception to that rule appeared with desuetude. I will certainly try to include that in a sentence in the coming work week.

Vaughan is away for much of today with a Sunday lunch invitation in London. While I would have liked to have gone (we haven't seen the invitee for ages) it wasn't possible due to Tazcare, However, so far I've had quite a busy and productive day.

Dune 2021

But we're jumping ahead, first the review of Dune I promised you.

It's surprisingly short and despite thinking it over for 24 hours isn't much different to the short comments I posted that night.

The story is epic and (in case of doubt) based on a novel published in 1965, some ten years before any outline of Star Wars existed. It's an important point to make as this film version seems very familiar.

While it isn't exactly formulaic, it does have many set pieces. Perhaps unsurpringly many of those are similar to Star Wars and the treatment has a similarity that can't go unmentioned.

It's perhaps ironic and somewhat irritating for Dune fans that those comparisons are made when Star Wars was in turn clearly heavily influenced by and drawing on the 1960's novel. Let's be charitable to both and say they cross-fertilised ideas and both managed to pull them off well. Both films are engaging. Director, Denis Villeneuve was quite correct to say one film wouldn't do the film justice and therein hangs my problem.

Some of the set pieces and locations do look like they've been borrowed from elsewhere. The costumes certainly have a Jedi/Sith look and the futuristic halls owe rather more to a Bond lair than a Baronial hall of 10,191 AD, but they are certainly impressive.

In rather the same way that India is a character in Passage to India or the US in Thelma and Louise, the dessert is certainly one here. Cinematography is great at time amazing and the actors all turn in far more than credible performances.

The problem is that this half of the story (for it is only part told) is set up and exposition rather than plot and story culmination. The point at which the action ends is sensible if you know the whole story but ends rather suddenly if you don't.

It's a little like having gone to a restaurant, settled down to a wonderful amuse bouche and starter only to find they're closing and be ushered out before the main course. I don't doubt the main will be lovely, but I can't really tell you if it's a balance menu until Dune II is digested. If indeed it is made as there is no agreement yet in place. I can't imagine after the success of this instalment that it won't be, but stranger things have happened. Certainly worth seeing but tending to produce an anticlimactic reaction rather than one laden with unquenchable anticipation. I look forward to the main course some time in 2023.

Forgotten sets

As serendipity was mentioned yesterday, I was fortunate to check the bulbs I was planting in the spring border.

One large bag of what I initially had taken to be iris (they were not clearly visible) turned out to be autumn onion sets.

While it's a tad late for autumn planting, they went in today and have (as my mother would have pointed out) got two chances. I have some over-wintering garalic which is making good progress so I'm hoping these take the chance to get ahead for next year.

In normal times I might have been sceptical. However, in normal times I wouldn't have been seeing thirteen degrees in late November so perhaps the extra heat will have a beneficial impact here.

Those dear readers who know the Mem'Sahib will be aware that there are some foods that have been ruled off-limits by virtue of their taste or texture. I will try just about anything and could live more than happily exclusively on fish and seafood.

Fish pie - obviously appalling

Vaughan is not so fortunate, I remember (not long after we met) dining at a very good posh(ish) restaurant. I offered Vaughan a beautifully fresh and well cooked piece of sardine starter.

As soon as the fish hit the mouth, there was a reaction that I can only compare to a determined cat bringing up a fur-ball.. This caused significant commentary from the rest of the diners. I have since established Vaughan will try fish if: 1. He doesn't see head, eyes, or tails. 2. It's not too fishy (oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or sardines) 3. It's not raw 4. It's not a bi-valve mollusc or similar.

Imagine my surprise to find the Sunday lunch attended today served a fish pie. This tells me two things. Firstly Vaughan hadn't checked the menu before attending and second he doesn't know what goes into a typical fish pie. The verdict was 'it was actually quite nice'. So next week I'm tempted to rustle up some mackerel sushi with a razor clam, muscle and oyster medley on the side. - then next stop onward to blue cheese.

A very Yorkshire pudding

Having cracked my mum's pastry recipe I gave her Yorkshire puddings a go today with more than acceptable results.

A very Yorkshire pudding was the result - let them go cold and have them as a dessert with jam of your choice. It sounds as though it shouldn't work but (breaking news) it does.

So just videotapes remain. I can't say I have any left but the content on Britbox has stopped be going stark raving mad over the past two weeks. Vaughan is shocked, horrified and amused by Fitz (Cracker). I'll let you know how that goes.


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