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The three - er wait, I mean six - Rs

miss_s_b gave me an R.

Something I hate: Reactionary social values, by which I mean believing things like "a woman's place is in the home", only particular narrowly-restricted sexual activities are acceptable, you must respect your elders (regardless of whether or not they actually deserve it), and foreigners should be treated with suspicion. I found the description of these views as 'reactionary' rather confusing when I first encountered it. It basically means 'reacting against the current status quo' (as the Wikipedia article explains), but the word in and of itself doesn't really indicate in which direction - towards greater tolerance and equality or lesser? Anyway, in context and in practice it means people who currently enjoy privilege wanting to shore up the inequalities which support it by appealing to tradition. I am a liberal, and I am against that sort of thing.

Something I love: Roses - both the flowers themselves, which I think are beautiful and smell lovely, and more particularly things which are rose-flavoured, such as Turkish Delight, rose creams and rose syrup. Rose flavoured confectionery used to be quite common a century ago, but it is such a delicate flavour that it is actually quite difficult to make it 'work' in any foodstuff and (probably more importantly) it is not easy to synthesise effectively either. So manufacturers of cheap confectionery have tended to drop it, and rose-flavoured delicacies are not at all easy to get hold of. If you ever see some in a shop and want to make me a very happy bunny, this is a fail-safe gift for me!

Somewhere I have been: Rome. Obviously! My career is centred around the study of Roman history, and more particularly Roman urban space. I tend to work with provincial cities more than Rome itself, because I am interested in how people at all levels of society negotiated with one another in the organisation of urban space, and the political importance of Rome means that the dynamics at play there were exceptional and can't be extrapolated more widely. But I still need to know Rome intimately because of the way it served as an archetype for other cities, and because of what it can also tell us about the political issues which I also teach and research. I went there just last week, this time in the name of political self-representation (specifically, Augustus') and other people's responses to it, but urban space was an important part of that too (e.g. his monuments and their post-Classical history). And I will keep going back there throughout my life, because it is such a rich city that I will never know everything there is to know about its ancient past - let alone the magnificent tapestry of contradictions which is modern Rome.

Somewhere I would like to go: Romania. Hands up - this is basically about my current fannish obsession with the Hammer Dracula franchise. But since that's an obsession which I've carried with me since before puberty, the idea of actually going to Romania and seeing the landscape which inspired the original legend is hardly a passing whim with me. What I'd really like to do is take a river cruise along the Danube, the segment of which between Vienna and Bratislava I have already travelled along with big_daz, but right from Germany to Romania this time. Then I would travel inland to the Carpathians and do the full Dracula 'thing' - i.e. visit all of the locations associated with the real historical Vlad III Drăculea, but also those which had nothing to do with him but did inspire Stoker (e.g. Bistritz, the Borgo Pass). I'm pretty confident that as a holiday this would work very much in the same way as the Wicker Man trip which I did to Scotland last March with thanatos_kalos - i.e. it would be a great way of achieving a new and deeper engagement with a story I love, but it would also lend a nice shape and structure to the exploration of places which are in any case very much worth visiting. However, doing all of that would probably require about two weeks (though of course the river cruise and Dracula's Romania sections could be separated out into two different one-week holidays), and what with the travel and work I'm going to need to do this year for Augustus' bimillennium I can't see when I would have time to fit in even half of it until that has passed.

Someone I know: rosamicula. This is a bit of a cheat, as her real-life name does not begin with an R, but as I knew her first by her LJ name, and have interacted with her here (as well as in real life) for the best part of a decade now, it is as real to me as anything on her birth certificate. rosamicula is one of the strongest, most sharp-witted, and most articulate women I know, and although the word has come to sound cheesy and empty due to widespread overuse, I do find her genuinely inspirational. I have learnt a lot from her, from why it is important to remove your make-up properly before going to bed to how to spot and avoid idiotic social fallacies and understand what is really important in life. If you enjoy food and good writing, I recommend her blog, Beggars Banquets.

Best movie: I badly want to cheat here and say [Dracula has] Risen from the Grave, because I never call it by its full title (who does?), so it effectively begins with an R for me. It is a fantastic movie, but then again I already waxed lyrical about it only very recently, so I guess I can manage without doing so here again. In which case, I will instead nominate Raw Meat, aka Death Line (1972). That's a bit of a cheat, too, since I have to call it by its American release title to sneak it in, but less brazen I think. It is a low-budget British horror movie, set in the contemporary present, and involving passengers being attacked by an unknown menace on the London Underground. It's not as widely-known as it deserves to be, but I think it's a real gem, probably above all because it succeeds in creating a very moving sense of pathos around its 'monsters' (who are actually just human beings who have themselves been very badly mistreated), even while also pulling no punches on the horror. It also has Christopher Lee in it (albeit only briefly), Donald Pleasence as a fantastic sarky Cockney copper, and lots of lovely seventies fashions. I have reviewed it in more detail here. Mind the doors!

OK, I'm done. Comment if you would like a letter of your own to play with.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
Totally with you on roses. I bought rose flavoured chocolate in York last week (Rose cremes) and today managed to find two Rose scented liquid soap bottles in TK MAxx.
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yes - I forgot to mention rose-scented toiletries, but they are also excellent! Happy was the day when I picked up a tube of rose-scented showed gel in Cath Kidson for half price. (I can't bring myself to pay for their products at full price, though - it's not that I can't afford it, it's just that I don't think their stuff is worth what they charge.)
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
It isn't. I almost bought a friend some Cath Kidston stuff from TK MAxx but even at 30% off it was ludicrous. Birthdays only.
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
I am inordinately fond of Rose Jam shower gel from Lush.

Lakeland do a sizeable box of rose and violet creams (I love rose stuff like you do, but violet even more) for about £10 that I buy roughly twice a year when I'm feeling very down.
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
Violet is also good. I've just Googled the creams of which you speak (here they are, for anyone else interested), and they look a lot like some similar ones I buy on special occasions (Christmas, my birthday) from Waitrose. The crucial difference is that the Lakeland box contains twice as many for the same price! So I know where I'm going next time... :-)
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:31 pm (UTC)
Did I ever tell you about the rose tea I had in Beijing? I think you'd have liked it (all roses, no actual tea).

& I'm up for going to Romania sometime. :) Also a letter, if you'd like to give me one-- I can always use the procrastination tools. :)
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
Actually, I drank some tea which was probably pretty similar to that at a friend's house once. I was suspicious at first, due to my general abhorrence of tea, but relented upon reassurance and was pleasantly surprised.

You would be very welcome on my Romania trip! I'll let you know if I ever get round to actually planning it.

As for a letter - how about an H?
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC)
Actually, I drank some tea which was probably pretty similar to that at a friend's house once. I was suspicious at first, due to my general abhorrence of tea, but relented upon reassurance and was pleasantly surprised.


You would be very welcome on my Romania trip! I'll let you know if I ever get round to actually planning it.

Hooray! I almost excavated in Romania but ended up going to Greece instead-- timing of the dig, I think it was. I've always rather regretted not getting there.

As for a letter - how about an H?

Hooray! :)
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:39 am (UTC)
ooh, go on, letter me!

I have never been either to Rome or Romania. I would really like to rectify this deficit.
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:57 am (UTC)
OK, I allot you a B.

And of course, when you do rectify your Rome deficit, you have your own personal expert travel consultant right here. :-)
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:56 am (UTC)
I'll have a letter, please...
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:57 am (UTC)
Yours is an L.
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! now I'll wait for a sunny day with a round tuit and a post might even happen.
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
I'd like a letter please :-)
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
Bad luck - you'll have to make do with an LJ comment instead.

But seriously - have a G.
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:16 pm (UTC)
Ta :-)
Jan. 16th, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
Oh that was SO lovely and cheering to read - on a day when I really needed lovely cheeriness. Gimme a letter, bitch!
Jan. 16th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, good - glad to have been of service!

Take an M.
Jan. 19th, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
Someone gave me some Red Roses body oil by Jo Malone for Christmas, it is truly gorgeous stuff and worth the money. (But avoid turkish delight vodka - delicious scent but far too sweet.)

Edited at 2014-01-19 02:40 pm (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, there is no such thing as 'too sweet' in my vocabulary! Just looked at the Jo Malone range, too - it looks like they have quite a lot of items (not just body oil) in the same scent. I shall look out for their stuff.
Jan. 19th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
There's a Jo Malone shop in the Victoria Quarter, now I look. A friend has the perfume, and it's beautiful and long-lasting.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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