Thursday, May 6, 2010

Betty and the Real World

When May Follows:
Edwardian hair--For a date, Katrina does her hair "in a low roll around her head in an Edwardian hair-style". I think I just barely remember when women used to do this. It looks like it takes hours but La Neels just tosses it off in half a sentence.

The King and I--For many years I thought that Mijnheer van Voorhees was allergic to movie musicals. It turns out that he likes them fine but that he has two criteria: death and Nazis. So, thumbs up to West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and The King and I. I totally have a thing for Yul Brynner in the movie as he is possibly the only man in the world that could pack a polka with that much heat. (Second only to Captain von Trapp's folk dancing.) That moment when Deborah Kerr realizes that just because the King speaks in an accent doesn't mean that he thinks in an accent--when he puts out his hand and grabs her waist... Teh hotness.

Our heroine is well-read but worries that Raf will keep throwing the Anthology of English Verse at her head. Here's another 'Pretty England' poem that she might have found in it. I wonder if The Great Betty knew it. Wordsworth:
        I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Raf refers to Penthesilea--Queen of Amazons when Katrina is hanging the wash. She was a leader in the Trojan War and felled by Achilles. The hero upon lifting her helm fell in love with her, and returned her corpse to the Trojans unharmed for proper burial. When Thersites mocked him, and some say gouged out Penthesileia's eye with a spear, Achilles killed him. I guess that's what Kate means when she says Penthesilea came to a sticky end. "I wasn't thinking of her end," observed the Professor mildly.

They go to the Waaggebouw (weigh house) in Leiden. In fact, it makes it onto the book cover. It's those fellows in white, carrying the cheese. They look like gondoliers.

After Kate's dawning realization she wallows in hopeless love. Evidently she spent the evening listening to Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. I do recommend you click on the link. Raf would have had to be deaf or dead not to know that something was up with Katrina.

Philomena's Miracle:
Philomena is on the receiving end of some really maladroit compliments from Walle. When she wears Vu perfume he tells her that on the right woman it would smell right but that it is too sophisticated for her. Reviewers for this scent online said: "gorgeous,mysterious and strange. Sweet, dark,and wonderful..". Another said, "I was really too young to wear it then, but I remember it was my older sister's scent. It's a leathery chipre, similar to things like La Nuit or Perfume de peau, but sweeter, and honestly a tad more... ordinary. Still, it's got a lot of character, it's really a disco-era scent." Disco-era scent. The mind boggles.

At the end of a date that had its ups and downs, Walle says,"Fortune, goodnight, smile once more, turn thy wheel." King Lear and rather apt, I would say." Here's the wiki info on it: The Earl of Kent, who was once held dear by the King, has been banished, only to return in disguise. This disguised character is placed in the stocks for an overnight and laments this turn of events. Methinks that Walle knows Philomena is ending the date on a discordant note and is choosing philosophy over storming of maiden hearts.

They go to a swanky restaurant to celebrate her Gold Medal--Kettner's in Soho. Poor Kettner's has had a few bad turns around the wheel of fortune of its own, I'm afraid. It's recovery from being a Pizza Express (Betty is turning in her grave) has been less than successful. Here's a biting review:
According to the blurb on the menu, Agatha Christie was once a regular at Kettners, an ancient Soho joint that has recently reopened in a new guise. If only she were around to write this review, because I can't make head nor tail of it.

Whodunit? is the easy bit - Gondola Holdings, owners of the Ask and Pizza Express chains, dunit. Whydunit? is another matter, for The Killing Of Kettners is the most impenetrable catering enigma I have ever encountered. Why would Gondola deny itself punters by recreating a well-loved old-timer as a paradigm of such bewildering ineptitude that it would beggar belief if you chanced upon it in rural Bulgaria, let alone in so ferociously competitive a foodie market as central London?...By some perplexing oversight, the kitchen failed to ruin the green vegetables, but it wasted no time in recapturing its form. Having said that, the mistake over the puds was ours. The correct answer to, "What will you be having for dessert?" was, of course, that old faithful, "The Listermint for me and for my friend your finest spittoon." Yet for some reason we went for "homemade" raspberry sorbet that appeared, in so far as it was possible to tell, to be strawberry sorbet, and feckless champagne jelly with such tired-looking berries that we assumed they'd been sat around waiting for the call-up since Agatha was last in. By way of a fitting coup de grĂ¢ce, vile, bitter coffee arrived in a dirty cup.

Ouch. A rich, Dutch doctor wouldn't patronize that place with a ten-foot stick.

1 comment:

  1. Betty Keira: Although I have never thought about it before, Professor van der Hertenzoon's usual musical-phobia also grant exceptions for Nazis and death, hence "The Sound of Music," West Side Story," and "The King and I" (I suspect the latter because men just like Yul Brynner--a man's man) as well as the one dancing scene in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (Howard Keel--another man's man?).

    He once made it through several scenes of High Jackman's "Oklahoma" thinking, not unreasonably, that a trip to Brighton was in the offing.

    However, he loved and laughed throughout the fairly recent "Enchanted"--who knew?