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Magic in the Moonlight poster.jpg

Back from Paris.  Only managed a rather saccharine Woody Allen film:

Magic in the Moonlight.  The French subtitles were the most interesting

feature of the viewing experience Much was obscured in translation,

and I was fascinated by what was lost.  I don’t think the audience

picked up on the Dickensian and Shakespearean references, even

though we were not exactly in the banlieus.  This led to stifled snorts

when we- my belle-soeur et moi– twigged some little blague or other

and the French remained tres serieux, not noticing the elephant on the

screen, as it were.

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I am still amazed that one of my adult neighbours in The Charente had

not heard of Wimbledon, or, indeed, The Bard.  La France Profonde.

The opening of Act Five of The Merchant of Venice it wasn’t.  Loved the

old Alfa Romeo, though.  Preferred it to the ageing Romeo, aka Colin

Firth, who appeared deeply embarrassed throughout, as well he might.

At least he didn’t have to replicate any wet shirt moments. If he had,

then at least he would have dried off pretty quickly in that part of the

world.  They could have got him one of those vintage scratchy woollen

maillots that sagged in elephantine folds when soaked by the vagues,

They protected one’s modesty, while making one look ridiculous.

Eh bien, I know that by the use of that pretentious adjective to describe

the water-retentiveness of the aforementioned garment that I’m just

trying to extend the Jumbo/ Dumbo metaphors.  But, seriously, Colin’s

aunt could probably have knitted him one in her copious free time- when

she wasn’t drinking and driving recklessly, as aged rellies apparently did

back then.

The old bat seemed to have been a bit of a juvenile raver in her

flapperish youth.  The plot suggests that she paid the ultimate

price of her libertinarianism (she had probably bathed au naturel) by

having been jilted.  Good time girls were not marriageable material,

though she clearly had compensation from the married man.  Maybe

the villa?  Because you’re worth it.

I couldn’t help wondering what her string of pearls was worth in old

money?  Anyway, they were probably destined to find their serpentine

way round the cygnet-like neck of the cling-on before too many moons

had waned and you didn’t have to be Madame Blavatsky to make that


Thought Eileen Atkins was the kind of aunt anyone could wish for.  Or

at least her villa would have been an attractive place to head for in the

school holidays, but only if there was unlimited access to the Alfa.  I

don’t think one would have wanted to be whirled down any of the

Corniches if she had been behind the wheel, as subsequent events

were to prove.

Alfa Romeo logo

Oui, unless one’s E111 equivalent is up to date, a trip to Urgences

(Casualty, not a village perche) can be assez chere, even for whiplash.

I don’t think they had E111s in those days, let alone seat belts, or

air bags, but you’d probably have been okay. Just mention the aunt:

in French.

The aunt would have mobilised another rescue car.  She evidently

wasn’t short of a sou or two and she must have arranged for her

prestidigitarian nephew and his predatory ingenue to be rescued

from the observatory, as they managed  to return Chez Tante with

no visible taxi service after the orage. That was when the starry-

eyed duo’s relationship was initiated by a coup de foudre.

Don’t you just adore the obvious metaphor??!

Maybe she could have hired a fawning relative as a chauffeur for the

duration- chauffeuse??  Would have beaten taking a student job in

a transport cafe in good old Blighty.

Anyway, one felt a little sorry- but not too much- for the millionaire

ukelele- playing buffoon who was grooming the ingenue.  No amount

of Worth frocks could have enticed or seduced a girl to shack up with

a richer version of George Formby.  The price for having led him up the

garden sentier was probably a lifelong requirement to check the Roman

blinds were permanently down in the bedroom, especially when the

window cleaner arrived and a need to hurry past all street corners lit

by heritage lamp-posts.  It would probably be easier on one’s nerves

to return the frocks, jewellery and promissory billets-doux.

Tried to be a good aunt myself.  Took a brief trip to Le Vesinet to assist

The Nephew with his A-level English Literature.  No, he is not sitting the


Right, tell me the texts you are studying.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Fine.  (Gulp!)

Lady Chatterleys Lover.jpg

Oh well, better initiate him into the mysteries.  Look what happened to

poor old Ruskin, as no one informed him of certain basics of the female


Returned home and caught up with Brassica and co.  They’d been to see

Effie Gray, the film whose script was written by Emma Thompson.  Would

be interesting to see if she handles the metaphor more subtly.

It reminded me that I should re-blog my Ruskin poem- the one where the

great art critic is standing in the falls at Brig O’ Turk- probably inviting

rheumatism- and his rival in love, Millais, is painting him while engaging

Effie in some Life Classes.

Will post it next!