#StayAtHome entertainment

All these weeks of staying at home and you’d think it would be boring, but it’s not really, not for me. Yes, I do miss the freedom of coming and going anywhere I please, seeing my family and friends for real, going out to cinemas and restaurants, travelling and experiencing new things. However, for all that I miss, I also have things I am grateful for: I’m with my wonderful husband and kids (seriously, I could never get sick of having them around), I still have work that pays me a regular salary, a roof over my head, a garden I can sit in when the sun shines, I have online and phone contacts with people outside and, as a bit of an introvert, I am also very well able to entertain myself.

I take walks with my husband but sometimes also by myself, with music playing in my headphones as I enjoy the scenery. The other day I took a lovely walk in a little green area about a 7 minute walk away from my house. I was listening to the Yentl soundtrack that I hadn’t listened to in a while. Papa is always an emotional song for me, connected in so many meaningful ways to my own papa…

Anyway, listening to beautiful, relaxing music like that while walking can really lift your spirits, especially when the views are so pretty with nature blooming now in the spring…

Not that many people walk there at the end of the afternoon/beginning of the evening when I tend to take my walks, so it’s a good keeping-your-distance route. I love to see the trees starting to bloom and flowers popping up.

And there is more to entertain me! There are re-reruns on Dutch TV of my absolute favourite show of the end 1980’s / beginning 1990’s, the Australian TV series The Flying Doctors. We’re in the doctor Geoff and nurse Kate heydays right now, so even though I have seen all the episodes and I own them, I also do tune in now and again to see how they’re getting on and where they are in the story. We’re getting close to the big Geoff and Kate rift in season 4 when Geoff’s brother comes to town; that was one of the most exciting times of the whole series, I love seeing those episodes.

There were 9 seasons of that show, the last two seasons or so weren’t as fun, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a special on how they’re doing now, 30 years on.

On Friday evening I enjoyed a broadcast of  a 2011 The Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary performance on YouTube. By the time I post this, it will almost be going offline, but oh my goodness it was good (and worth a donation)! I didn’t mean to watch the whole thing but I got stuck anyway. Ramin Karimloo plays the Phantom with such feeling and intensity, I became a fan instantly. And Sierra Boggess as Christine is just amazing. I had never heard of them before and they have great chemistry together. Here a clip of them perfoming at the Brit Awards in 2012…

I also loved the celebration bit after the musical ended and, with just small gestures, again Ramin Karimloo made a great impression on me.

And then last night there was another #stayathome highlight for me. For the first time ever I did a three person video chat with two very good friends of mine in the US. We always chat a lot in writing, have done so for 18 years, but until this corona crisis when seemingly everyone has taken to video chatting, we had never thought to do a video chat amongst ourselves before. We’re usually busy and rarely online at the same time but with all of us staying at home now, we figured we should be able to arrange something. So, last night at 9 pm my time and 3 pm their time we finally got together for a video chat and ‘hung out’ for close to two hours, also seeing husbands and a few kids. It was wonderful! The internet and social media really can be so amazing.

Besides all this I have also been going down a Jean Simmons rabbit hole in recent weeks. I had been going through my Richard Chamberlain collection a little while back and saw bits and pieces of The Thorn Birds again where Jean Simmons plays Meggie’s mother, Fee. She is so good in that role!

It made me think of The Big Country with Gregory Peck again, in which she co-stars, and I re-watched that (yup, it’s good movie!). I have always loved her in the role of school teacher Julie Maragon, I always wished for her role to have been bigger.

Looking at her filmography I know I have seen her in a lot of things already over the years, most of the them ages ago, and I have always liked her. Besides the roles I just mentioned I remember her best in Great Expectations from 1946, Black Narcissus from 1947 (excellent movie!), even though those were small roles…

… and of course in Spartacus from 1960. I remember enjoying the film and story but I mostly remember loving Simmons as Varinia. I remember the tension in the Laurence Olivier scenes and the love in the Kirk Douglas scenes.

I have also seen The Robe (1953) with Richard Burton, Young Bess (1953) with her then-husband Stewart Granger and Désiree (1954) with Marlon Brando, all historical costume dramas. I confess to remembering little about them, although Young Bess and Désiree stick in my mind as movies I did like at the time.

I came across a movie called Until They Sail and, when I saw the trailer, remembered I had seen that too. I watched that one again and boy, I really liked it! It’s about four sisters in New Zealand during the Second World War and the relationships they have with Americans stationed there. I loved the understated, almost philosophical scenes between Jean Simmons and Paul Newman…

… and the conclusion between them is just everything. It’s not only about them, though, it’s about four sisters who are very different at handling the same situation. I really liked it, it’s going onto my fave Jean Simmons movies list.

Last night, after that two hour video chat (I’m a night owl), I watched Guys and Dolls from 1955 that Simmons also did with Marlon Brando. I’d never seen that before, apart from bits and pieces. Both are only OK singers but oh my, they have such great chemistry! I loved them together in this movie, like in this clip.

The movie was alright (it apparently also has Frank Sinatra) but really shone and came to life when those two appeared together on screen. It was fun!

Yeah, this Jean Simmons rabbit hole is going deep. I want to re-watch Désiree now to see if the chemistry with Brando was also there in that, and I want to see Young Bess and Spartcaus again. I also need to see Angel Face, a film noir movie with Robert Mitchum in which I think she plays a psychopath; it is said to be one of her absolute best roles.

jean simmon sangel face mitchum

Oh, and she did one with Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr called The Grass is Greener which I also saw many years ago, need to look into that one again as well.

I’m sure there will be more as I dig on.  I’m loving my journey of Jean Simmons re-discovery.

I feel it is so important to be social and stay at home and yes, I do feel restricted during this corona crisis but I am also lucky that I have enough ways to entertain myself. Thank goodness for the world at our feet on the internet and for a world that is beautiful outside.

58 thoughts on “#StayAtHome entertainment

  1. Servetus

    My watching for this week: “The Battle of San Pietro,” “Let There Be Light,” (censored John Huston films from WW2), “Hiroshima Nagasaki 1945” (censored footage from August 1945); and then a bunch of documentaries about genocides (“Yellow Wasps” about Serbia; “Ghosts of Rwanda”; “Discovering Dominga” about Guatemala; and a few more).

    I love that film of “Guys and Dolls” (has all the energy even though they don’t sing well). I way overlistened the “Phantom of the Opera” soundtrack in the 80s and I still have never seen it — my ears are still worn out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your watching week sounds depressing, Servetus! Free choice or for classes?

      I liked Phantom well enough but never over-listened. I went to the stage show once many years ago in The Netherlands, never saw the movie, but do know the songs relatively well although I haven’t heard them in eons. I thought I’d watch this show to remind myself of the exact story and the ending and was sucked into this performance. It really was good.

      Guys and Dolls – didn’t expect to like it as much as I did! I did know a few of the songs, though not the bell song I shared here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        Classes. I had one class this week that was M: WW2; W: Atomic bomb; F: Genocide. The twentieth c. is brutal.

        “Guys and Dolls” was one of my first paid “adult” jobs as a 14 year old — was the rehearsal accompanist for my HS production. I don’t love it the way I love “Oklahoma” but it still brings back many fond memories.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            As there are clearly people in the world today who haven’t had enough, I always hit this hard in my classes — not just how destructive but also how wasteful — in hopes that a few students are listening. Unfortunately it may actually be harder on me than it is on them.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It’s good of you to try! But yeah, harrowing too… I have phases when I go through this stuff and it’s not even for a class or anything and I get down about it and get nightmares. When the nightmares come I know it’s time to switch to another topic.

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              1. Servetus

                I have many colleagues who are focused primarily on the 20th c. and they don’t seem to suffer as much, I think because their work really inures them and they are “in it” all the time. So they don’t have the issues that I (and maybe you) have where we have to take a break and that creates a situation of re-immersion. In a normal year I have two months of my life that are taken over by this stuff and while it doesn’t give me nightmares, my good friends can now more or less guess when I’m immersed in it again (usually April and November)

                Liked by 1 person

    2. squirrel.0072

      🙂 Dans certains des films évoqués, je trouve un lien plus ou moins évident, avec certains de mes choix cinématographiques. Mon appétence pour les films de guerre m’a toujours étonnée. Mais maintenant, je découvre que beaucoup de ces films étaient des dénonciations de l’ apologie de tous les crimes commis, des films sur les résistants.
      Je ne cherchais pas des films documentaires qui tendent à s’approcher au plus près, de la vision historique du narrateur, ni des films de divertissement pur comme les films comiques de Gérard Oury avec Bourvil et Louis de Funès, ni des épopées dignes d’ Hollywood…
      Mais, j’ai aimé découvrir des points de vue des différents. Mais, la vision de ces films peut à la longue nous arracher beaucoup de plumes…
      Mais j’ai aimé trouver des films avec des reconstitutions où il y avait un soucis d’authenticité. Les batailles aériennes avec les avions originaux me fascineront toujours.
      En ce qui concerne les documentaires restent dans ma mémoire:
      – Shoah de Claude Lanzmann et
      – le témoignage de femmes victimes des combattants des différents états présents , durant la guerre en Yougoslavie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        I watched “Shoah” while in college (for a course) but it’s now considered too long to assign to undergrads.

        For me, with documentaries — it’s always been true, but it’s increasingly true: I’m looking for the truth. I want to know. I don’t care which myths get destroyed in the process. I just want to know *what* happened and why. I don’t want a sentimental portrayal of that, or something that really pulls at the heartstrings. I just want to know what is real.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. squirrel.0072

          🙂 I understand your point de vue”.
          But, when I was around 14 years old, a friend of my aunt (2 trade unionists-teachers in technical high school (French, legislation, history + geography of the contemporary world…) gave me as gift the book “The Painted Bird”. It’s an American novel by Jerzy Kosinski, a Polish Jewish writer living in the United States since 1957, published in 1965. This book traumatized me, I could never finish it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            It is traumatizing to read that — and it came out in the 1980s that “The Painted Bird” is mostly fiction (vs the earlier assumption that Kosinski had written it based on his own experiences). So I try to stay away from it with students.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Servetus

                No idea. Lying on that scale is kind of a borderline personality trait. I just try to have my students read memoirs that don’t involve quite *that* level of construction in them.

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              2. Servetus

                I think if he’d sold it as fiction I wouldn’t feel that way about it (I still wouldn’t assign it — but I wouldn’t feel angry about it). Apparently for years and years he pretended the things described in the novel happened to him.

                Liked by 1 person

            1. History as portrayed in fiction is another good topic, this could be a good book for that.
              Just wondering as I type this: do you recommend Anne Frank’s diary in classes?

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              1. Servetus

                I don’t usually assign it because students have often already read it, but I have referred to it in graduate courses on memory and assigned the New Yorker article about the alterations Otto Frank made to the second manuscript. If I have time for one genocide memoir, I usually go with something like Filip Müller’s Eyewitness Auschwitz (Sonderkommando memoir). Not everything I’d like to read with students is always available in English. The only thing I consistently avoid is Elie Wiesel’s Night, but that is also something that is regularly read in high schools in the US.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Servetus

                It’s worthwhile if you’re interested in the topic (and it brushes up against the real material at the basis of the Tattooist of Auschwitz, which has a lot of errors in it), but it’s not of literary merit in any way. That said, one of my objections to a lot of Holocaust instruction is that people focus on the texts of literary merit. It’s a thing that I have problems with the aestheticization of.

                Liked by 1 person

        2. squirrel.0072

          You questionned my mind about the truth a few months ago. So , I found that sentence: “indeed, what is truth, considering that historical truth is neither literary nor psychological truth?”

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          1. Servetus

            History is itself a sort of consensus fiction. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as an actual event, even if we can’t touch or re-experience it. So I simply try to find as much true information about events as I can.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I guess there are facts and there is interpretation and then there are memories, people recounting history and that can be very subjective. Yes, it’s complicated.

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  2. Esther what lovely pictures from your walk! I’m nearing the end of AWAE 😢on ep8
    I’m glad you’re busy and chatting with family and two American friends!
    I did a much needed chat this morning myself
    I’m baking too which is HUGE for me
    Anyway thank you for always being uplifting and giving me new ideas to watch
    Enjoy your Sunday evening ❤️❤️❤️😘

    Like

        1. squirrel.0072

          Lime and Zitronenkuchen are good against virus!
          I am currently cooking apples (with cheese and cucumber, or with rice – chicken, or marmelade and pie on top of caramelized apples.
          Always at student home, confined for IT intership, my son is baking bread , pizzas and “raclette au Saint Nectaire fermier AOP”..

          Liked by 3 people

            1. squirrel.0072

              Clermont -Ferrand est au milieu de la zone de production de ce fromage. “G’son” y étudie depuis 3 ans. Aussi, il connait de bonnes adresses de fromageries, fréquente les marchés ouverts. Les étudiants se regroupent pour acheter les produits régionaux en grosse quantité (saucissons secs, truites d’élevage…)

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          1. rachel

            lol! well we had a couple then we had a fruit and veg box delivery on Saturday which had 2 more large limes…thus the excess!
            and yeah, it’s a nice twist on lemon drizzle

            Liked by 1 person

          1. Esther I think in cupcake format they are really good. Next time that’s what I’ll do instead of cake with less sprinkles but it’s all me stepping out of my comfort zone of chocolate into the world of baking 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, beautiful spring pictures!

    Sadly, I”m NOT watching movies or whatnot. I’m video recording children’s books! LOL! I”m so jealous!!!! I’m taking notes of what to watch, if I get a chance!!! Thank you for all of this!

    Like

    1. Recording children’s books – something you share with Richard Armitage now. 🙂 Good idea to do that for the kids. I work during the day (even now as I type this, I’m quickly side stepping to answer messages while I listen to a not so interesting work thing om Zoom) and only have time to watch stuff in the evenings and on weekends. The house is going to pieces, but I’m entertained. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My kitchen is a wreck! I’m so ashamed.

        Yep, recording children’s books for those who get internet. I’m kinda of wondering if I should add those books to my ‘read file’ at the end of the month – lol!

        Today, I’m going to be recording Nobody Loves Mustard, Breathe, Mustard, Breathe, and A Fly went by. I”m also probably going to record the first couple of chapter of an older child’s chapter book – it looked really cute, so I bought it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: RA as gestampte muisjes | The Book of Esther

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