Thursday, 9 August 2007

From Gramsci to Boden

I'm currently trying to teach myself Marxist Critical Theory for an exam on the 22nd. Arrgh! I missed half the course last semester so was unable to sit the exam at the right time. Now I'm down for the re-sit and have an essay to do too. It's the last thing I need to complete in order to get my degree and it's hard. Trying to discern the subtle differences between hegemony and ideology; what is 'post' about certain post-Marxist theories; the difference between Marxist, post-Marxist and Marxian and how Marcuse's approach to technology differs from, and is similar to, Benjamin's. Imagine my glee then when, yesterday, the Boden autumn catalogue flipped through the letter box.

The Boden catalogue is full of healthy, cheery people wearing slightly off-trend clothes. Some people might call them classics. Some might call them preppy. I tend to think of them as allotment meets Sunday lunch with the in-laws. There are cheery coloured cardigans with big buttons, flippy skirts and useful jackets. Wide-legged trousers, stripy shirts and sensible boots. Oddly ageing print dresses, an awful lot of applique and things with velvet trim. But the best thing about the Boden catalogue is the questions they ask the models. Here is a selection of questions and answers:

Best place to be in autumn? Somewhere where it's summer; London; Stamford Bridge.

I'm always told off for: talking too much; biting my nails.

Last meal ever would be: Borsch; Roast lamb; Pasta al Forno; Lobster; Sunday roast.

Never have a quiet night in without: Popcorn; a Martini; a good stiff drink.

Best present ever recieved: tickets to Dolly Parton; white roses; my children; land.

Who would you be for a day? A monkey; Demi Moore; Daisy Duke; a rockstar; Bob Marley; Pablo Neruda.

Dreading: turning into my parents; giving birth.

I shouldn't like to but I do: gossip; rubbish t.v.; cheeseburgers; licking stamps.

My two favourite answers are 'a monkey' and 'licking stamps'. The first because of the stretch from who to what, it makes me wonder if there is a particular monkey that she would like to be, which could just about come under 'who', or is it any old monkey? This would really be a what. Here is a girl who thinks nothing of breaking the rules. I'm so glad there are still some people like that around.

The second throws up more questions than it answers: Why does she feel that licking stamps is something she shouldn't like to do? Is there some tacit proscription against such a seemingly innocent pleasure? Is the glue on stamps considered, somehow, dangerous? Or ghastly? Or is it the stamps themselves? Perhaps it has something to do with tongueing the Queen.

I can't think of anyone, or anything, I'd like to be for a day. Except, perhaps, for me on my death-bed. According to Martin Heidegger (early 20th century German existentialist philosopher) one can't become truly authentic until one knows one is going to die. That is until one becomes fully aware of one's own mortality. Which is more than just knowing in theory that we all die eventually. I'd quite like to reach that state of authenticity sooner rather than later, so being my dying self for a day now might help.

I won't bore you, dear readers, by giving my answers to all the questions but I would be jolly interested if you answered one or two of them. And I will tell you this: the thing I'm always being told off for is overcomplicating things. I don't know why this is though.

Well it's back to Marxist critical theory for me now, briefly, and then I'm off to get all my hair cut off.


Kim Ayres said...

Never have a quiet night in without: My wife, Maggie

Who would you be for a day?: Bill Gates and I'd be busy transferring lots of money to my bank account before I reverted back

Dreading: the next tooth coming out

Kanani said...

Best place to be in autumn? Somewhere with a bit of a chill, the ocean. Big Sur, California

I'm always told off for: getting upset over lackadaisical service at restaurants.

Last meal ever would be: berries. All kinds of berries. Some barbecued chicken. A piece of lemon pie.

Never have a quiet night in without: putting in a look at a few blogs.

Best present ever received: a small glass shell from my daughter.

Who would you be for a day? Dolly Parton; poet Pablo Neruda or Stanley Kunitz

Dreading: being somewhere I don't want to be; not having enough money; not getting back to Oz to be with my friends.

I shouldn't like to but I do: People Magazine, watching You Tube, googling...its a major addiction.

Mary Witzl said...

I love these questions!

Let me see...For me, the best place to be in autumn would be somewhere with real autumn leaves. Boring, yes, but that is what I'd like to see in autumn: autumn.

If I could be anyone for a day, I'd go for being a world-class athlete. A runner, say. And I'd run in front of lots of people and listen to them ooh and ah at my speed.

I shouldn't like country music. But I do.

My last meal would probably involve chocolate, and I dread cleaning the oven.

Carole said...

Best place to be in autumn? Outside in the brisk wind, in a huge pumpkin patch in Maine, where the colored leaves make your soul stir and the little kids run from one pumpkin to another trying to choose the best one, and where the smell of apple cider is in the air, and where Charlie Brown hides full of hope and excitement trying to catch of glimpse of the Great Pumpkin.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ But what if Maggie were to go out?

Kanani ~ Berries mmm...

Mary ~ Not lavender chocolate though?

Carole ~ Do you write poetry?

Carole said...

No, although I am wistful about certain things and autumn is one.

Kim Ayres said...

If Maggie goes out, then I try and distract myself with a mindless action DVD. If she's away for more than a couple of nights, I pine.

Eryl Shields said...

Carole ~ You do seem to have an inner poet bursting forth.

Kim ~ Part of me wants to say 'Ahh' and another part wants to say 'get a grip man.' Though, if Stevie is away for a night I have to ensure the bedlinen isn't too clean because I can't sleep without his smell.

Kanani said...

I love berries. At my old house we grew them. I miss that. Someday I'll live somewhere with a bit more land and grow all sorts of berries.

PI said...

Dreading: losing my marbles.
Best place to be in the autumn: Venice - misty opalescence.

I'd love to stay and chat about Marxist critical theory but I'm a bit pushed today.

Eryl Shields said...

Kanani ~ It's berry foraging time here now, the hedgerows are full to bursting with black and red and all sorts and soon there'll be sloes too. If only Marx and his ardent followers weren't keeping my tied to my desk.

Pi ~ I fear I'm already loosing mine. Odd how everyone is in such a rush when I mention MCT!