Autocorrect, museums and good films

Man, the V&A…

And the blog is derailed.

I wrote “V&A…” Autocorrect turned it into “V&a.a.” This happened about five times. I’ve put up with the way it corrects my swearing and how it cannot understand when I invent a portmanteau word. I’ve rewritten words countless times when I’ve wanted to say something in an interesting manner and it just decides I’m trying to say something else. Rules language need not to be have. Comprehension cum frim oxpereyece. Corect spelig ad gramer all the tiym maks thingx looz kullur. W cn rd sntncs wth n vwls. The human brain is smart. Usually.

That said, it can be jarring if a piece of prose is all over the place, and sometimes we just want to have a nice relaxing time passing our eye over words. That’s why I’m a stickler for decent sentence structure. Lucky me with my education. It’s not necessary. If course it isn’t. Nevertheless it jolts me when I see a little  mistake like a double space, a misplaced comma or an incorrect ellipsis But…. AUTOCORRECT CAN BE SWITCHED OFF. Why am I shouting? I have a feeling that now I’ve worked this out, the process of writing these blogs will be smoother. I have spent so bloody long going back over the selections made by that fucker. It took the V&A to finally motivate me to do something about it. I detest all these learning algorithms because they all seem to be driving in the same direction – they all seem to be trying to homogenise us – to push us into smaller and smaller pockets. “You like this so you must like this too!!!” “You’re friends with X so you’ll get on with X-alike.” Balls! Nutsacks! Dangly nibbleglobs! We are better when we are all doing our weird thing and people around us don’t get it so we occasionally have to try to explain and in so doing we understand ourselves a little bit better.

The V&A is just thousands of incredible man made things reminding us how clever we can all be. Some are individual works of great craft. Others are communal. Huge great big statues and tiny little cut jewels. Everything in between.

Lou knows how much I love random old stuff. I loved it there, soaked it all up. After a few hours though the information fatigue started to set in, followed shortly by the actual fatigue. We sauntered back tired through the Knightsbridge and Chelsea streets. We walked past people begging, bought food from supermarket workers likely worrying about the cost of living crisis vs their paycheck. We returned home. This evening the show is off, so I’m not doing my usual oh so hard work of … pretending to be a cryptographer in some basement in Bethnal Green.

We watched The Souvenir on Mubi, through the gigantic TV in my riverside Chelsea flat. Fêted by critics, hated by lots of Google reviewers. The perfect coda to our lazy Knightsbridge weekday. Joanna Hogg reflecting on her younger days, catching the early career of a remarkable Honour Swinton Byrne, and serving us a hot slice of dear Tom Burke alongside Honour’s mum, who you can likely guess by the surname. Tilda Swinton. It’s not Captain America. It’s a deep and felt bit of British cinema. To me, the resonating waves were about what we do with the hard memories. They were about making truthful human art out of privilege. They were about the fallout from the naive goodwill of a sheltered upbringing. They were about the moments and the thoughts that help us look at who we are when we aren’t thinking. It’s beautifully scripted shot and edited, and I was resonating like a tuning fork throughout it. We didn’t know what to expect of it frankly – just that we were tired and didn’t fancy subtitles. It’s a joy – especially if you like the whole process of film, which I really do. It’s light and dark. It listens as you watch. It talks about itself as it unfolds. Loads of people on Google reviews hate it and are setting themselves against some notion of the hoity-toity critic when they shout about it. I’m not hoity-toity, but let’s face it I went to Harrow. Lou didn’t though, and we both loved it.

I’ve walked a long distance since those rarefied days. I think the film helped me frame some bits of that strange walk. Good art provokes a reaction. Not every story can speak to everybody, of course. But it’s very rare that I’ll tell everybody a story is shit just because it didn’t speak to me.

Lou should come to London more often. Now we both have a hankering to go to The Wallace Collection and see the picture from the movie.

“I think she looks sad.” “I think she looks determined.”

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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