What a surreal day. I struggled out of bed at 6:14 when guilt forced me up; I’d promised to meet Julian downstairs in the building gym, as we’d woefully failed in our we’ll do 20 min of cardio every day for the next three months pact from last fortnight. I texted:
Are you up?
Yay! I’m going back to bed :p
Then I realised that he might already be at the gym, but without his phone. I went downstairs. He wasn’t there. He’d slept through his alarm. I did chin-ups, and other back exercises, prescribed by Dan’s cousin, Laurence months ago. The small change from 8 to 10 reps, for 3 sets each made a big difference; it was a challenge. When my porridge finished cooking in the microwave I cancelled the alarm and crawled into bed next to Daniel, and fell asleep.
I was on academic today so worked on the two manuscripts that never seem to end, before catching up on journal articles I’ve downloaded in fits of enthusiasm. I had volunteered to present the cases for the O&G rounds this afternoon, as no staff were available, and multi-disciplinary meetings are the best chance to glean what the referrer’s need from our reports, see the interesting and complex cases, and put faces to names. I went 30 minutes early, to familiarise myself with the computer display and open all the cases. Somebody had shut the computer down. It could not be restarted unless you had a key to a locked control room. Helpful. My careful preparation plans went awry and I had to pull up cases on the fly, while people were asking me questions. I won’t volunteer again.
After rounds I walked down to King St as we had a second TIFF film booked; A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. It’s the third in a trilogy by Swedish master Roy Andersson. It was sold out. Before the film began a man walked up to chat to his friends, loudly complaining that he couldn’t get a ticket. “Perhaps people just saw the title and thought, ‘That sounds like the most pretentious thing: Pigeon Sat On A Branch!’” I thought it sounded delightfully absurd.
The opening scene tickled me pink. It was like a contemporary dance piece, but on film. A woman in the corner of a museum room watches a man observing birds in display cases. A T-rex skeleton is seen through the doorway into another room. There was a pigeon sitting on a branch. It was absurd. The next few scenes more so. Then there were flamenco dancers. Dead pan. I remained engaged and excited until the long takes and repetition of scenery or lines or themes reminded me of that terribly irritating 1980s contemporary dance classic with the Philip Glass soundtrack that repeated the same movement phrase endlessly, with subtle variations: the viewer was meant to appreciate the nuances without tearing his eyes out from frustration. Thankfully the drab colours and increasingly bizarre narrative got me through until the credits.
The Q&A made us grind our teeth at the cinema sycophants, asking questions of the “Master” on his process but only after first commenting on their interpretation of the work and how much they just loved everything else he’d ever done. Ever. Daniel and I rolled our eyes at each other. Thankfully the director was sensible, passionate about his ideas and inspirations had some pearls to share:
The room tells the truth (people can lie but their room reveals their true nature/personality).
He likes to employ light without mercy. Like a Hopper painting.
Daniel and I were delirious by then though and when the Director cited Otto Dix as inspiration we tutted and nodded, sagely. Of course! Otto Dix!
We submitted our ticket stubs for the People’s Choice Award (we liked the film) and were rewarded by some neat green and cream and red badges. “Take a few!” the volunteer encouraged us. I took three.