Half the loose-ended depression of the the last fortnight may be due to reading yellowed books from the shelf dating back twenty years or more- the ones bought with such high hopes that never got anywhere and that now reek of the ancient desiccated past. Breathing their mummy dust leads to exquisite gloom. 'Why don't I have anything from *ten* years ago?' I asked myself. The answer is that I do- yellowed manga from the shelf bought with high hopes and now reeking of the semi-recent decomposing past. At least these have pretty pictures, some of them: the ones I'm reading now in order to be done with them. They're all early works by Yuki Kaori, a woman I have a chronic love-hate affair with. Never too pronounced: she's a contracted bondservant of HanatoYume's, and slaves of the Japanese publishing system must be pitied, au fond. But still.
I think I was in Japan when the Goth movement started; it's not something I'd have noticed even if I'd been here, no doubt. (Last thing I remember noticing was punk, and I suppose goth is an improvement on that, as being prettier at least.) But did anyone at the time mention that gothiness can only be carried off by- is frankly only excusable in- extremely young people? Once you're legal to smoke drink or drive it's time to pack it in, because dear god the thing is of a silliness and vulgarity equalled only by satanism. Erm- which it resembles, I suppose. It shocked me a little to come home and find there were twenty-somethings who not only read Angel Sanctuary but took it seriously as a source on angelic orders and kabbalah and whatnot. Mind, they took CLAMP seriously too, which struck me as a wilful misunderstanding of the thing in the context of its own culture.
But it's not a one way street. Allow me to foam at the mouth a bit here.
Because here is me reading Zankoku na Douwa-tachi and here on the opening pages is a fairy tale about a... fallen angel who falls in love with a human maiden who... is beguiled by music into a fairy ring where she is... fated to dance forever with the 'fairy of the air' Ariel... so the angel shoots her with an arrow to free her into death.
No, no, and no. Separate and mutually exclusive mythic, folklore, and literary traditions. Separate. Mutually exclusive. Fallen angels and the daughters of men is Hebrew. Fairy rings is British. (The 'mortals dancing forever' thing feels like it comes from Anderson, Hans Christian, because while it may be a fairy-like thing to do to a mortal, in Clarkeian recension, it's not anything I can recall traditional fairies actually *doing*.) Ariel, once Hebrew, is now a nature spirit belonging to Shakespeare's Tempest, and that one's simply not negotiable. Angels, even fallen ones, do not have bows and do not shoot people; if they do they're in fact Eros/ Cupid and not angels at all. That's how it works in English lit. Shakespeare could take a Hebrew angel and rework him into a pseudo-Italianate pastoral myth. Very few people are Shakespeare, and Yuki Kaori isn't one of them.
Thank you, I feel better.
Also on the happy list- Everybody Knows, one of those songs mikeneko foisted on me in an attempt to impede my recovery. Leonard Cohen is indeed Old Reliable, and a nonpareil with it. I knew someone once with perfect pitch who couldn't listen to him sing; it hurt her too much. For once I'm glad to have no ear at all, because I think no one else can sing Cohen but Cohen. Everyone else is too smooth by comparison.