Good news everyone, I’m not going to be homeless in two weeks time! I’ve found a flat with my good friend that’s a stone’s throw from Uni, and if everything goes to plan this week, I should have keys by Friday.
Other good news is that the mathematical modelling of my novel data is going well. I will have a decent poster in time for the International Systems Biology Conference in Copenhagen in early September, which is fantastic all on it’s own, but even better is that I get to visit Copenhagen! Prior to June this year, my travelling experience consisted of three trips to Germany, several to northern France and one to Amsterdam (ruined by my catching Swine ‘Flu, I kid you not). The only time I’d ever flown was London to Glasgow for a weekend when I was seventeen. This year however, I completed a skydive, flew to the Algarve, Portugal for a week’s holiday and flew to Barcelona for a work trip. I expect Copenhagen will be completely different to anywhere I’ve been before, and it’s a huge conference with over a thousand attendees from the world over, so it should be an experience… What’s your most memorable/disastrous flying trip?
The final thing is to recommend watching the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s a film about seven English retirees who, for various reasons end up in a Hotel in Jaipur. It’s most definitely not what they were led to expect from the brochure! Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy all star in it and the rest of the cast are most excellent too. I’d say the film deals with how we cope with change and how we make the best of what we’ve got. Maggie Smith plays Muriel Donnelly, a elderly spinster who needs a hip replacement and happens to be horribly racist, but who has a sad backstory of being in service for all her life before being got rid of by the family she served due to old age. I think hers is a fascinating arc and I’d say she undergoes the most change of all the characters, although I shall say no more in order not to spoil it! Judi Dench, as lead Evelyn Greenslade, has lost her husband to ill health, only to find that he’s squandered their life saving leaving her in so much debt she must sell her home.
Meanwhile, Tom Wilkinson, as Graham Dashwood, gives a heart-rending performance of a retired judge returning to his childhood home to find his male lover, who was his first and only love. I think it’s absolutely amazing that a film aimed at middle-aged and retirement-age people would put in such a well-thought-out character who happens to be gay. I mean, it’s not so surprising, given that people in their sixties and seventies now were in their teens, twenties and thirties during the sexual revolution of the 60’s, and were fully adults during the emergence of HIV. But, there’s such a reputation of the generation one up from my parents, of being stuck in their ways, being racist, homophobic, anti-immigration, anti-feminist conservatives, that I almost wouldn’t expect it to appeal. On the other hand, there was no clue in the blurb that this would be dealt with in the subject matter, so I hope it maybe nudged some people to reconsider. It also served as a reminder to me, a young twenty-something, not to write off older people. It should certainly serve to remind society that just because someone got old and retired that we shouldn’t just write them off. Loneliness was probably the most important theme theme in the movie, with each of the characters being lonely in their own way for some reason or other, and what made it so good was seeing how each of them responded to it and used it, for better or worse.