This was the last book that I read in 2019. It was something that I’d been dipping in and out of for most of the month along with The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories. I knew I’d never get all the way through the Penguin collection so I made the choice to focus on this instead. Anyone who had read my review of Emma Thompson’s film Last Christmas will know that I didn’t like it. Really didn’t like it. However, I was all in favour of the accompanying book. I thought that it was a really fun idea and the fact that it was helping to raise money was an added bonus. I had to buy this book because so many great people were involved. I’m a fickle person after all. Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade, Olivia Colman, Billy Bailey, Meryl Streep: all people I adore. I was genuinely excited to see what they had written. We all like getting a glimpse at the private lives of people we see in the media and this was like being invited to their house on Christmas day. Who wouldn’t say yet to that?
Today really does mark the end of Christmas. I’m back at work this morning after an 8-day break. It’s just flown by. It obviously didn’t help that I spent so many of the days in bed. But I’ve had a lovely time off and it’s been so nice to actually have a Christmas holiday for a change. I’m not looking forward to getting up in the morning. I’ve become too used to being able to get up whenever I want. I confess that I’ve been somewhat leisurely when it comes to getting out of bed. I set the alarm for 8 o’clock and get dressed at about 10. It does mean that a 7am wake-up call seems hellishly early. Though, I am looking forward to going back. If nothing else, it will mean that I might finally be able to work out what bloody day it is. I hate that period between Christmas and New Year when you don’t know what’s going. When every day fees like Sunday. When you can’t even work it out by watching TV because the schedules are all fucked and they’re only playing films. I love Christmas but I can’t wait until life feels a bit more normal again.
I’ve said it before and I will continue saying it until the day I die: Mamma Mia is the worst film ever made. I know it’s a contentious point because there are lots of terrible films that I’ve never seen and there are loads of people who bloody love this film. However, I fail to see any positives about the way that film was made and everything about it makes me angry. It’s terribly shot, terribly choreographed, terribly sung, terribly written, terribly acted… you get the idea. I hate it. There is one specific camera move during Meryl Streep’s performance of ‘Mamma Mia’ itself that really gets my goat. Meryl lies on the roof singing and the camera moves up and then, as Meryl waves her arms, crashes back down. It’s the worst shot I’ve ever seen. And then there’s the whole of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ where Meryl, I assume for lack of better direction, starts miming the lyrics as Bronhom stands completely helpless. It’s so fucking bad…. yet I find myself yearning to watch it every now and then. It’s like that second piece of cake at the end of a 3 course meal. You know you don’t want or need it. You know it’ll make you feel sick for the rest of the night. You know you’ll regret it for ages. Yet, you know you’re going to eat that fucking cake. Mamma Mia is that second piece of cake. I can’t just put it back in the fridge and walk away. I need something on which to focus my hatred. Which is why I always knew I’d go and see the second one at some point.