Tag Archives: Childhood

I was too fat for skinny jeans in 2005 (and other such nostalgic thoughts)

This weekend has been one of nostalgia, dear readers.  Usually I am wont to tell nostalgia, politely as I can, to fuck right off. Nostalgia at it’s root means to long for something you can’t return to and I’m not down with that futile shit, yo.  But now and again, nostalgia can be a pleasant, warm ride.

I’m not okaaaaaaa-aaaaaaa-aaaaa-*Cough*

Last Friday I was mildly surprised to hear that the band that haunted my adolescence more than any other was splitting up.  This was strange for me, as I was under the impression that My Chemical Romance broke up in 2008.  Alas no, they have plodded on since the early days of 2006, which is when the first contagion of the emo craze was spotted in secondary schools across Dublin.  I was there, man. I remember it. Those little bug eyed cartoons drawn on schoolbags in sharpie marker. The elaborately decorated Nightmare Before Christmas wallets. And the music.  Oh God, the music.

I think I am completely qualified to talk about the emo craze because not only was I there, I desperately wanted to be one of them.  A younger BHT wanted so much to have a side fringe, a piercing in the cartilage of her ear and one of those chains you put your wallet on one end of and clip to your belt.  I wanted the Chuck Taylor sneakers and the dyed black hair, the gloomy outlook of a misfit child happily counterpointed with impossibly hysterical, chirpy melodramatic music and an aesthetic picked up from a children’s animated musical made in 1993.  But I didn’t manage to make the emo transformation for the following reasons:

1: I was too fat for skinny jeans.
2: My mam wouldn’t let me get piercings1
3: All of those accessories were so expensive
4: Razor blades make BHT so awfully nervous.  Poor 14 year old BHT saw one set of earring studs shaped like razor blades and she was outta there.

But ultimately I never really ‘got’ how to be an emo.  Young BHT did make a very ill advised decision to cut a side fringe over the Christmas of 2006 and spent the next eight months going around convinced it was the cat’s pyjamas.  My Chemical Romance existed on the side fringe of my teenage years: I was never really a true fan, but they were everywhere around me.  Slowly they soaked into my subconscious and made a damp little nest there.  BHT for one will mourn their passing as a band.  I will remember them fondly during my more melodramatic moments, where I am fond of screaming ‘I’m not okaaaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaaaay’ in the style of Gerard Way.

I feel like the whole emo brand has come full circle on me.  Last week, I bought my first ever pair of Skinny Jeans.  Maybe there’s hope for me yet.  But anyway the whole MCR breakup was in my head for a few weeks while I encountered other nostalgic fare.

Is nobody else still excited about the TGV except me?   

I caught the last ten minutes of the 1996 boom fiesta Mission: Impossible on Friday night and it triggered yet another wave of nostalgia.  The climax of MI is possibly the most 90s thing put to film along with that scene in Baz Lurhmans Romeo + Juliet where Leo DiCaprio sits on a beach in California looking meaningful and young while Radiohead play on the soundtrack.  In Mission: Impossible, between product placement for the (at the time newly opened) TGV high speed train and Tom Cruise running away from things (as is his wont in every movie ever) we are treated to copious shots of mid 90s mobile phones, laptops and internet woes.  Then a freaking helicopter gets dragged into the channel tunnel as the train rockets through the English countryside.  Tom Cruise, why are you running everywhere?  How is this CGI so hilariously dated?  Tom Cruise, how did you survive that explosion? How are you not deaf?!  Why does the English bad guy look like the current prime minister of Australia?  Questions for the ages…

I felt a strange pang of nostalgia while watching this scene.  I can just about remember 1997, back when a mother fucking high speed train that goes through a tunnel under the freaking sea was pretty much the best humanity had.  The boundless optimism of the booming 90s, the clunky technology proudly flaunted as cutting edge.  The pre twitter, pre-wifi pre smart phone world is a quaint one indeed but it’s also the one little BHT was convinced she would inhabit one day.  I imagined myself sitting on my high speed train under the sea, tapping away on a ten pound slab of a laptop, while wearing a big hat.

I’m a Daphne in the street and a Roz Doyle in the Bed

The 90s were a good decade for Seattle- There was sleeping in Seattle, a little known music movement you might have heard of called ‘grunge’ which would eventually spawn the emo monolith discussed above, and then there was that spin off from Cheers set in the rainy north west city that nobody has given a shit about shit  (literally nothing else has ever happened in Seattle except for Jimi Hendrix and Boeing).

There is something supremely comforting about the 1990s high-brow sitcom Frasier.  Because the series focuses generally on the lives and problems of well educated, gainfully employed people of means, it’s a very safe show.  Nobody is going to be left destitute, evicted or oppressed.  That’s not to say it’s a bad show. A modern comedy of manners with what is to me a wonderfully welcome early 90s trip.  The big hair, the baggy suits, the PHONES again, posh people bitching at each other and inevitably being zinged perfectly by the down to earth working class characters.

~

If given the chance then, would I wish myself back to the golden days of 1994? Or perhaps to 2006 to relive the emo glory days in the skinny jeans I could probably fit into now?  I think not.  Nostalgia is tempting but in the end, all one really remembers are the highlighted high points and moments of quality; with respect, if all I can remember of the emo craze are the ‘good parts’, I’m fine with staying here.  As for the early 90s, I actually can’t imagine life anymore without constant remote access to twitter.

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Niamh ‘That being said, I think I’d go back just for the big hats’ Keoghan

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I am scarlet for marriage equality opponents

Okay.

Let me marshal my thoughts as best I can; I’ve just finished watching the Late Late Show debate on marriage equality, which I experienced first via the so called ‘river of bile’ on Twitter- a surprisingly moderate, inoffensive river all things considered although I do think calling Wendy a cunt and telling her to stick things up her fanny was unhelpful and immature- on the whole, twitter was being it’s usual twittery self.  I think it says an awful lot of David Quinn blacklist of bile-y tweets mostly consisted of balanced, moderate comments and a kind of eye rolling disdain for the usual weak arguments against marriage equality.  A few things did strike me about the debate hat I think I, as something of a feminist and general know it all, ought to clear up.

1. The ‘gender equality’ point

Both Darren and Wendy set forth this point; that in every other area of society be it in politics or business, we’re always striving for an equal number of men and women representing on boards and in government.  The argument seemed to be that in these areas, there was a recognition that you needed both men and women for there to be fairness and equality, so why is it different when children are being raised?  It was said that this notion of gender equality recognizes that men and women have different skills and approaches that are both valuable.

The thing is, that’s not what gender equality really stands for, or at least my conception of it.  The idea is, quite radically, that gender doesn’t actually matter in these cases- that men and women can both do the same job equally well without difficulty.  The problem emerges when there’s such a massive disparity in the gender balance of a company board or parliament- because if gender really, honestly wasn’t the issue, we’d have a 50/50 balance of men Vs Women.  The whole basis of this is that like race, gender doesn’t actually tell you anything about the person.  Women can be just as aggressive, stoic or tough as men, and men can be just as passive, emotional or sensitive as women.  There’s nothing wrong with being whatever- people are simply people, their gender can inform their identity but it doesn’t define them.

2. Biological mammies and daddies are best

The first thing that strikes me about this entire argument is how insulting it is.  To reduce the love I have for my parents- who have cared for me, protected me and given me a stable home for 20 years, loved me no matter what my difficulties have been- to reduce a relationship so complex and fulfilling to biology is woefully simplistic.  I have a mother and father, but to reduce their roles in my life to simple cardboard cutouts of ”MAM’ and ‘DAD’ fitting into this narrow gender binary is ridiculous.

When I was a child, my father worked nights and my mother worked during the day in town.  At the time I was sure that she basically owned a company and so was very happy mammy went to work in the day.  Because my dad worked nights, I spent most of my day with him- we’d get up and watch sesame street, then we’d go in the buggy to town, or to the park, or to any number of places.  My dad changed my nappy everywhere because there were no changing facilities outside of the ladies toilets in an era before parenting rooms, so he improvised, most famously on the grave of an archbishop.

My Dad is very stoic.  He’s not a very touchy feely guy.  He’s told me he loves me exactly once in his life- on the phone, after my mum had gently informed me that my grandmother, his mother, had passed away while I was on Holiday in Galway.  He’s an old fashioned, Colm Meany in the commitments sort of Dad.  He doesn’t say he loves me, but he certainly shows it- everything I’ve ever needed is provided for.  I’ve never gone hungry or been cold or scared.  He’s worked hours of overtime to pay for my education and my school trips.  He was a very hands on father when I was a kid, sharing the parenting duties with my mother.  As well as my mum and dad, I was cared for by two grandmothers who without fail babysat us four days a week when dad started working in the mornings again.

My mother worked in town full time for most of my childhood.  When I was a little kid, she’d ring from her office in town once during the day, and then arrive home in a big beige 90s style rain mac, usually holding an umbrella and her handbag.  On the weekends, she’d cook a spaghetti bolognese on Saturday and a roast on Sunday.  We’d all go on outings- my mum, dad, brothers and usually my grandparents- together as a family.

Bottom line- my parents both mucked in and got on with it.  I wasn’t particularly aware of gender roles when I was a kid- if I cut my knee, I ran crying to either parent.  As I got older and needed help with other problems, I gravitated towards two people- My mother, and my uncle Fran.  My uncle is like me in personality, articulate and great at conversation.  I don’t gravitate towards my mother because women are just naturally better at dealing with their daughter’s problems, I do it because my dad just happens to not be as easy to talk to.  My brothers go to my mum with problems too, the same way if we have a wobbly desk we go to dad.

It’s not to say that they have set roles that are defined by their gender- they’re just two people primarily, who raised a family together.  The really important thing that they gave us was stability- I never had any doubt that my parents were a team, and working together.  It’s stability, not gender, that’s really important to a kid.

3.Marriage is only for makin’ babies

This obsession with kids being the only outcome of marriage kind of irks me.  No it bloody isn’t.  The primary function of marriage as a social institution?  I would have imagined it had something to do with the people actually getting married and not just their potential offspring.  This also discounts people unable to have children, or who just plain don’t want them.  Again, reducing marriage to just being about biological reproduction is ridiculous.  There’s also the question of adoption- Sometimes the sad fact is that biological parents aren’t capable of raising children alone or together, and that’s okay- kids get adopted all the time, and it doesn’t fundamentally distort them.  I suppose it’s okay for them to be adopted by straight couples because then there can be a pretend biological bond, by Darren and Wendy’s logic.

To me, the biological argument is bullshit.  It insults adoptees and children raised diligently and happily by step parents, grandparents and any of the other million grey areas there are in the world.  The ‘protecting the children’ rhetoric also completely ignores the legal limbo that the children of gay parents now exist in, with only one official parent.  It doesn’t make sense to me.

4. George Hook is kind of the man.

Has to be said because I have done mean impressions of him on many occasions and he was a total dude up on that podium.

5.They’re gonna ruin marriage for everyone

God you know, as a straight, cis female who wants to someday have children, I know exactly what will put me off marriage forever- two chicks being able to do it, amirite?  I mean, what would be the actual point of getting marriage and having babies if the gays are going to come in and RUIN MY MARRIAGE?  It’s just not bloody fair.  An entire generation of straight women and men would be discouraged from getting legal protection and starting families because sure now EVERYONE can do it, it won’t be cool anymore.  Or something.  The opponents to marriage equality are never very clear about how that bit works…

The idea that my relationships are cheapened by somebody else’s just confuses me.  I don’t care if gay people can marry- my ability to produce more of me doesn’t somehow make me a magical, sacred person capable of deep sorcery that my gay friends don’t have- it just makes me fertile, and I’m a lot more than that.  My relationships, both romantic, platonic, meaningful and shallow, are all based on more than that.

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In the end, marriage equality isn’t really just about kids, though that seems to be the way the debate is always framed.  it’s also about legal protection, clarity and the reinforcement of the principle that it actually doesn’t matter what you choose to do with another consenting adult.  The re appropriation of ‘gender equality’ for something that’s just reinforcing the very divisions we’re trying to remove is laughable, and David Quinn’s river of bile is probably the most rational, balanced thing ever posted to the Iona institutes website.

SO THERE.

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Niamh ‘did not get onto the rivers of bile list. devastated’ Keoghan

I got a period, yo! My big fat menstrual confessional.

You know, I’ve been at this for a few months, and consensus seems to be that I’m pretty…. ‘Honest.’ Yeah, I get told I’m ‘honest’ a lot.  A few people have seemed a bit uncomfortable with the amount that I share, and I’m kind of surprised about that.  Really?  I didn’t realise I shared *that* much.  I certainly find it really difficult to talk about things that I actually am a bit insecure about- I’ve chickened out on pieces about my body image, self loathing and depression, not to mention today’s topic, periods.  I think I’ve tried to write this about five times, with varying slants and approaches.  Here is my big confessional; everything you ever wanted to know about periods.

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I will never get those purple pants back

It was actually 10 years ago that I got my first period.  I was 10, which is pretty young.  In fairness to younger me, who I often chastise for being a melodramatic, uneasy girl, I took it like a total pro.  After the initial shock of my mother explaining it to me, calmly and carefully in our kitchen, eyes darting to the door to make sure my younger brother wasn’t ear wigging, that for the next 40 years, I’d start bleeding for a week, and not to be scared or upset when it started.  A few months later, I started getting tummy aches- the very first cramps that have since become the routine of my month.

I do have a distinct memory from the night before it started, getting into bed thinking ‘I reckon it’ll start tonight.’ and sure enough, when I woke up, I felt an unpleasant wetness in my pyjamas, and wriggled my pants down to investigate.  The first time you see the stain, it’s quite visceral.  It was dark, rich, and had soaked a circular patch into my purple underpants.  I stared at it for a minute, feeling a bit dizzy.  It was a Friday morning, around 6AM.  I was too shy to say ‘I got my period’ to my mother, so I went downstairs in my pyjamas clutching the stained pants in my hand, and showed her.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad.  Mam showed me where the pads lived (she’d already explained how they worked so I was a total pro with the wings) and then, after some hesitation gave me the day off school.  I sat in my pyjamas watching cartoons eating cereal.  I didn’t have any of the later cramps, emotions or unpleasantness that my period would bring along with it.  The next I thought about it was the next week, when my granny took my hand as we walked home from school. ‘Your mammy tells me you’ve joined the ranks of womanhood’ she says pointedly.

‘Eh, yeah, I guess I did.’ I reply primly.

My period is not dirty

Girls, can we all stand on our chairs (or in my case, my bed, where I’m typing from) and say out loud ‘Periods are not dirty’?  Because they aren’t- not really, they’re a bit messy and can smell, but they’re not infectious or liable to make you ill upon contact with another period-haver.  It’s a fallacy I often see- People comparing Menstruation to pooing or weeing.  In reality apart from taking place nearby where pooing and weeing occur, periods are nothing like it.  Mostly I hear men make this comparison- ‘You’d be grossed out if I talked about having a shit, wouldn’t you?’ This ignores two things-

1-I live with brothers, and therefore hear men talk about poo all the time [So much that I got into the habit of announcing ‘I have to pee’ when in company, which is very embarrassing.] It is so much more common to see jokes about it in media too- There are poop jokes all over TV; when’s the last time you saw a period joke on a kid’s show?

2- There is nothing like a period.  Okay, men, let’s get this out of the way.  I will never ever know what it’s like to be kicked in the nuts, but I accept it bloody hurts.  In the same vein, you won’t ever really know what it’s like to bleed for a week and not die.  Menstruation is a common experience, but not a universal one- Some women have them, some don’t, and men never will.

On the whole, I’ve always maintained that the things we use to hide the fact that we’re menstruating are the real dirty things here.  On it’s own, period blood is at it’s most offensive, slightly smelly and scary looking (The first time there were clots in mine, I actually had to have a little cry at how horrifying my body was being).  But I will attest that the smell of an over flowing bin of disposed soiled sanitary products smells SO MUCH worse.  The smell of old sanitary pad is overpoweringly bad.  Tampons have the even more horrifying side effect of potentially poisoning you.

The worst thing I ever heard when I was at school

Because I was a bit young donning my menstruation sombrero, I was already having them for a year before we got ‘the talk’ about hygiene when we were in school.  Mam had mentioned tampons to me, but didn’t really explain much about them beyond ‘they go in you, and they’re a bit harder to use until you’re older.’ So I didn’t really know anything about them.  It was during this talk which included mild mannered things like ‘remember to wipe and freshen up when you’ve had a wee’ I learned about tampons and toxic shock syndrome.

Basically it’s the worst fucking buzz ever.  Tampons are coated in bleach and then put into hard plastic applicators that you jam into yourself for up to four hours.  They dry your vagina out by absorbing the fuck out of everything in there- blood, mucus, general vagina-fluids doing their vagina-fluid job, stopping you being dry.  They are COATED in BLEACH.  The lady explained how they can’t get ‘lost’ up there (A sincere worry of 12 year old pre-menstrual girls.  Actually hell, I was worried about that until I was 16) and in the same breath, cautioned that if left in for too long, You could go into septic shock and be poisoned by your own rancid sanitary product.

I could not deal with this information.  I could die?  If I forgot about a cotton bud?  I have let PLANTS sitting on my desk right next to me wither from lack of water.  My Chia pet died because I forgot to replace the water!  How can I be expected to remember to remove things!  Oh dear god!  Basically everything about it scared me so badly that I can’t look at tampons without getting very upset indeed.

I got cramps in my back and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it.

I really, really hate it when people blame my hormones for making me emotional and cranky.  Like, again, this is something I don’t think guys generally understand.  Maybe I’m totally wrong in saying this but in general guys don’t have to deal with massive shifts in their hormone levels on a monthly (sometimes weekly) basis.  It affects all women differently.  Everyone has their own crazy unhappy side effects to periods.  Mine began to emerge around the age of 14- for the first three years, I was too busy dealing with the irregular pattern and getting used to the sight of blood to really notice anything else, but it started to get bad.

Mam had knowingly never told me that periods can make you moody and irrational, thinking that I’d use it as an excuse to be bitchy.  But it came anyway, a horrible wave of anxiety and depression.  I’m prone to excess anxiety anyway, and I go on highs and lows all the time, but nothing like the dark places I go to when I’m on the rag.  For a while when I was very overweight, the dark days got so bad that I was genuinely worried about some of my thoughts.  Adding to this problem was the pain.

Oh my god.  I don’t like to think of myself as a mimsy- I soldier on when I feel sick, or at least I try to.  It’s hard to describe the pain because I’m so accustomed to the sensation now.  Firstly, imagine feeling constipated.  Then add a gnawing, constant, hot pain in your lower back.  then tense every muscle in your lower body and stomach.  That’s sort of what it feels like.  To be frank for a moment, period cramps are basically the uterus contracting and pushing out the old lining, and it fucking hurts.  Other women I know vomit, and others just get weepy or angry, but those are my things.  I get anxious, sore and deeply depressed.

I live tweet my Codeine high

The pains got so severe that basic paracetamol wasn’t helping at all, so we went to the chemist for something a bit more specialist.  We were pointed in the direction of feminex, a pink-boxed painkiller designed to get at cramps.  Does anyone else find the packaging of ‘woman pain killers’ in pink boxes a bit brilliant?  I love the campy neon pink of panadol woman, gender norms be dammed.  That’s what box I want my meds to come in.  Anyway, Feminex is a fucking trip- Codeine, caffeine and the stern advice not to become addicted.

I was like a fairy.  It took the pain away, but also left me with a nervous, drunken high.  My heart was racing from the caffeine and my head was light from codeine. I wrote some amusingly out there facebook posts, tweeted my hysteria and then crashed, sleeping for 15 hours.  I did the same basic routine every time I had a bad period.  I still have the box of Feminex somewhere, but I stick to Panadol woman now.  I get a bit too happy on Feminex.  It’s a trip.

The absolute worst thing I ever learned was that the best natural painkiller for cramps is in fact orgasm.  It completely un-clenches tensed muscles and gives you a rush of happy hormones.  I will never, ever forgive the universe for designing me with the ability to remove this pain by doing the one thing I really don’t feel like doing at that time.

I am sorry I am so obsessed with my period you guys

And so considering this- that it’s a monthly source of pain both emotional and physical- I hope it’s easier to understand why I go on about it so much.  I mean, all the effort that goes into concealing it is ludicrous.  Jokes about menstruation are still considered really far out unless they’re jokes about women being all irrational and weepy on their periods, which I point out kind of dis empowers them.  You never see jokes about menstrual blood, or cramps, really.  People still bristle unhappily when periods are mentioned, even in passing.

I try to be really super delicate when I talk about them- well, not here, but in company.  In company, I call it ‘lady pains’, trying to avoid even the mention of the C word.  It can’t be a thing of horror for me anymore.  It never has been, really.  Since the age of 11, I haven’t the luxury of being grossed out.  I, like a good deal of women, just have to get on with it.  I have to get on with the maintenance and the smells and the countless pairs of nice pants ruined by bloodstains that never really wash out, no matter how much cold water you rinse with.

So that’s the deal.  If I have to live the next 30 years bleeding once a week, I’m allowed crack jokes about it.  It’s my little way of taking control and agency over myself.  It’s uncomfortable and at times difficult to keep in line, but it’s my body.  I’m genuinely sorry if that makes people uncomfortable, or if it’s being too honest.  So yes, ladies.  Everyone up on their chair/bed/ottoman

‘We all got periods, yo!’ Say loud n’ proud.

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Niamh ‘I bleed out my vagina and y’all gotta deal with that’ Keoghan

The Titanic drinking game

So today is an ACTUAL bank holiday Tuesday!  Wow, these don’t roll around often.  So as is often my wont, I spent the morning lying in bed, watching the 1997 disaster-histori-romantic-epic that is Titanic.  I have a little maxim which is- If you enjoy something, have the moxie to enjoy it sincerely.  I’m not into this ‘I love it ironically’ business. if you’re enjoying something for it’s badness, then that means you don’t like it- you can enjoy things you don’t like, and you can recognize that the things you do like are flawed and problematic in places.  So I enjoy Titanic.  I enjoy it sincerely, as a decent film, and yet I can also LOLz along at the sillier aspects of the production.  So here I present both my drinking game rules and my sincere fondness for Titanic.

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Type ‘Jack and Rose’ into Google images and you get a solid 5 pages of just these two.

I’ve been obsessed with Titanic since I was little; I am a bona fide hobbyist, growing up in a house filled with books all about the wreck and the social history surrounding it.  I spent many’s a long day playing in the park next to the old White Star line office in Cobh, co. Cork, and seen the rotted old pier from which the passengers of Titanic fetched their boat.  When I was five (which is the point around which I start remembering news events and film releases) the James Cameron film came out.  Back in the day, my parents went to cinema maybe once in five years and we had a collection of about 10 movies on video tape, so my nostalgia is pretty narrow from that era.  I clearly remember the night my parents went with my grandparents to see it in the pictures, and I remember countless evenings sitting down to watch the cassette tape because it was basically the only non-Disney film we had.

So I have seen Titanic countless times, from the age of 5 to 20, and I have to admit I have always wondered why it gets as much hate as it does.  I mean, I’ve heard people call it a shit movie.  I’ve heard people call it the worst thing they’ve ever seen.  I really don’t get this.  I will hold up my hands and admit that it isn’t my favourite film or the best film I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think it gets it’s dues.  So here are three broad things I like about Titanic

1. The Special effects

The special effects in Titanic blew my mind when I was a kid and while they have aged, they’re still stunning.  I would call Titanic the first film of the 21st century style- I know it was pre-2000 and pre- 9/11 but it has the sort of scale and ambition you see in a lot of later films like Lord of the Rings and particularly Chris Nolan fare.  Here the special effects are for spectacle but I think they stand out because they’re based in a familiar world and reality- one of the reasons Avatar didn’t strike me as a special effects MASTERPIECE is because that’s *all* it was.  Once you marvel at the blue people running through a CG forest for a few minutes, it gets boring.  Contrast with say, the motion capture performance Andy Serkis gave for Gollum in Lord of the Rings- the fact that Gollum is inhabiting a world that we can somewhat recognize makes it so much more effective.

2. The performances

Titanic does have something in common with Avatar in that they both have stock stories- Avatar is Pochahontas, and Titanic is a basic inter-class romance that happens to be set on the worlds most ironically marketed ship.  Where they differ is in how these stories are executed and on the basis of screenplay, Titanic blows Avatar out of the water.  It’s just a better told story, performed with better actors.  The cast here all fill their purpose- baby Leo di Caprio idealism-ing it up as the romantic lead, Kate Winslet being all repressed and suicidal, Billy Zane being fantastically evil.

Billy Zane is my undisputed king of ROFLz.

3. The Screenplay

I will defend this mother fucking script.  Fuck everyone I will.

A lot of people get hung up on the love story element of Titanic and I’ll admit, I’ve never seen why.  Sure, it’s a love story.  Is that the only reason it’s bad?  Because if it’s decently performed by an excellent cast, I don’t see the problem.  The tension of a love story usually lies on ‘will they or won’t they get together’ but here the tension is the fact that the audience knows there’s a cosmic deadline of sorts- and so the story becomes not just ‘will the forces of class and society tear them apart’ and rather ‘who’s gonna die, are they gonna live, FUCK an iceberg! etc.’

Kate Winslet gets her own category in the drinking game btw

I have heard the complaint that the film only focuses on two (fictional) people and not on a selection of passengers, like ‘A night to Remember’ does.  Well, firstly if you wanna see a Night to remember, watch freaking a Night to Remember. (no really do it’s a classic film).  I don’t mind anchoring the story on a few people out of 2200 passengers; having an inter class romance also serves to show us the contrast in conditions and lifestyle on the ship.    I’ve seen other movies based on real life disasters and histories that followed just one person- The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, Schindler’s List, the English Patient, Gladiator- and they’re all fine.  I don’t see the problem with focusing on just one set of people.  Besides, the film does have a massive recognizable cast of extras and it’s a bit of a punch when you notice each of them dying as the film goes on.

 

Now, saying I like the movie, I don’t deny it is FULL of bad lines, cliches, tropes and memetic moments.  Keeping this in mind, in the spirit of good fun, I created a drinking game to go along with the film.  Here it is in it’s entirety

THE TITANIC DRINKING GAME

OPTIONAL RULES

Every time the title of the film is mentioned in Dialogue, everyone must cheer and down their drink

Drink every time Jack or Rose get wet

Men- take a drink every time Rose says ‘Jack’

Women- take a drink every time Jack says ‘Rose’

(They say each other’s name a lot; please only play this rule if you want to get really wankered)

TAKE A SIP EVERY TIME-

The movie passes the Bedchel test (2 named women have 1 conversation about something that is not a man)

The Heart of the Ocean theme plays

The modern framing characters say something cynical

There is an ironic ‘this ship will never sink’ line

Frabizio ‘Italian-izes’ a swear word (e.g. ‘Bastardo’, Mother Funkolo’)

a real life character is portrayed on-screen (Bonus points for shouting ‘OH HI <Character’s name>!’ and waving)

You laugh out loud at a cheesy line/Old Rose says something sentimental

KATE WINSLET SHOTS (take a shot of your choice whenever the following happens:)

Kate Winslet’s American accent slips

Kate Winslet has a topless scene (Applicable to any Kate Winslet Movie)

Rose’s mother/Billy Zane say something sexist to Kate Winslet

FINISH YOUR DRINK WHEN

the script has social commentary

you hear trad music on the soundtrack

There is an epic panning shot of the ship as the music swells

 

I won’t go a long way to defend Titanic as the best movie of ALL TIME- I do think it’s got a lot of silly 90s sentimentality on it (Mostly personified by Billy Zane) but it holds up.  I can only ever see the backlash for this movie coming from the fact that it’s a love story, and I just don’t get that.  It’s a decent, if cheesy, movie, and it looms quite large in my personal nostalgia.  Maybe that’s why I’ll defend it and be fond of it, due to childhood nostalgia goggles, but in recent years I’ve still enjoyed it.

If nothing else, the drinking game is fun.

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Niamh ‘You’re not the king of the world, you’re just on the front of a boat’ Keoghan