Day 69

Normal People not Distancing

One of the delights – and there are many – of the television adaption of Sally Rooney’s Normal People is that there are no queues outside the supermarkets and that none of the characters are wearing masks, although Connell is certainly in heavy disguise as a wannabe writer who cannot talk – whoever heard of a writer who cannot talk endlessly about himself and his emotions? You did, Query Boy? But that is just because you have never read a book in your life so you have never heard of any writers, so I shall treat your contribution this morning with the contempt it deserves. Back to the point (and there is one before you open your square brackets, SquareBracketsHead), as with Jamie Doran and his stalking women round Belfast show, part of the crack of watching the series is recognising cafés or shops or pubs or streets or back alleys around Dublin that are familiar. With the added pleasure that the series is set, and was shot, in times PC so there is none of that nonsense about staying two yards away from each other, only taking your shirt off with consenting adults in a park (is that Phase One or Phase Two, Leo?) and staying gindoors all the time except when you have to go out. (‘Gindoors’ was a typo there, but I’m keeping it; I may even try to copyright it!)

Loike, most of you will recognise thon mountain up there in the pic, and a fair few of you could probably find the beach if it was sunny enough and if you were allowed outside. Now while Connell in the pic is much further away from Marianne than I would be in the same situation (I would be all over her like a rash), that is probably indicative of his emotional immaturity and frigidity rather than a fortuitous prediction about social distancing from the director of the TV series. So we can enjoy Ireland as it used to be pre-Kerfuffle in the series, and that adds to the pleasure. Maybe that will be one of the only ways we can enjoy Ireland pre-Kerfuffle in the post-Kerfuffle future if some of the worst predictions about how long lockdown and some sort of social distancing prove to be true.

It is great to see how much publicity this adaptation of a novel is getting. It would even cheer writers up, if they were upcheerable beings. The New York Times got in on the act the other day, with its critics discussing how the adaptation was going. (I have eventually caught up with the TV series in time for the end of it next week, so no spoilers in the comments, please.) Even yer Man from over there on the other parts of this site put his spake in this morning in the letters page of The Irish Times, and quite a witty spake it is too, if I do say so myself. And I don’t.

For the benefit of Shirleen aka Query Girl, I am going to vouchsave y’all (I have been waiting a while to use that one) a glimpse behind the curtain here.

Yer Man over there on the other bits of this site is a real person, and there is historical, documented evidence to back this up. I am a literary creation of his, employed for the purposes of writing a daily blog to amuse him during the Kerfuffle. Ed. (short for Editor) is a fictional creation of mine [am I? – Ed.] (you tell me), as are Query Boy, Question Girl and Darzo and the PhDs, although loosely based on human beings. Part-Time Wife is yer Man’s part-time wife, and he flagrantly uses me to say things about her that he would not dare to say to her face; well, not dare to say to her face twice, anyway. The resident teenagers are his as well, and, as with Part-Time Wife, I have no real power over them. The Spanish-speaking staff at the hacienda are real, as is the haciencda, but I would advise against trying to find it on a map, or even in real life, a concept with which I have little or no experience? Clear now? [As a duck – Ed.]

Another of the pleasures of Normal People is the great number of times it gives me the desire to jump into the television screen and give Connell Waldron a shake. He is a complete tool when it comes to expressing his feelings – for Marianne and for nearly everything else – and as yer Man says in his letter, that is less than ideal for a fictional character who thinks he is going to be a writer when he grows up. It reminds me of when I was reading l’Assomoir by yon French guy. [Could you be less specific? – Ed.] (Shut up! There’s a link.) I spent almost the entire novel wishing I could jump into its pages and save Gervaise from the awfulness of her life by the simple expedient of allowing her to meet a decent man, ie me, as yer Man wrote me as a well-rounded, sensitive, feminist soul. It doesn’t always come out that way, though, but I blame him for that.

Roight. Time for the daily chaffeur duties for Part-Time Wife, who can drive but who, employing female perogative to be illogical at all times, chooses not to, and so forces me out of my dressing gown (usually) to bomb her the whole half a mile to the garage to get her Ma the Irish News and herself some essential non-essentials. As for the legality of a fictional character driving a car, she could not give >1<3 hoots about that. I do not hold a licence of any kind bar the poetic one, and never sat, stood or ran a driving test in my life.

Is the PSNI toutline still open?

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