‘Must be a chick thing.’

Thus spake the numbskull in ‘Alien Resurrection’ after Ripley had blown to bits the tanks full of attempts at recreating her self from a bit of DNA left on a piece of ice in the last film (I know that was a bad sentence, but I can’t be bothered to fix it). Or rather, the idiot who wrote that stupid line and ruined the whole scene.

I love Aliens. Once I was so infatuated with Ripley (during my anorexic adolescence when I found her leanness so very appealing) that I thought that, if I had a daughter, I would call her Sigourney. Then a friend asked, ‘So what would you do for her nickname? Call her Siggy?’ and I admitted that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all. But on that note, I like the themes of motherhood, pregnancy and hosts that ripple through the stories, especially in the last film, where the boundaries between alien and human began to break down, and you can’t tell what a mother isanymore, because the doctoring of DNA has become motherhood. Which is why that line shat me, because it pointed so obviously to what was there, that it assumed the viewers were dumb.

But what I like most of all about the movies is that Ripley is such a ball-breaker. She’s as tough as nails, smart and has satisfyingly sarcastic one-liners. I said to A- that, sadly, I didn’t think they made movies with strong female characters like that anymore and A- replied, ‘I don’t think they have ever!’ (She also said, in a discussion we had with H about whether it was the blood or the Alien’s saliva that was acidic, and H said it was the blood, and A- said, ‘I hope she doesn’t menstruate,’ and I said, ‘I bet they didn’t even think of that.’)

Yet I found it unnerving that it was still a resurrection, because although I was glad Ripley had come back to life, it was still upsetting that she wasn’t completely the same. It was like in the Dune novels, by Brian Herbert, when Duncan Idaho was replicated each time, but always changed some way. I loved that character, and I was disappointed that he never lived as he originally had.

Anyway I like these ideas about perpetuating love and life, and I dimly recall Sue Woolfe saying, in an interview, that someone like Ada Lovelace had invented the computer so she could find some way of extending the life of a person she loved, who was dying. It’s for the same reason that I’m interested in memory, and in the question of how you can bring back someone who you’ve irrevocably lost through the process of remembering them. And I’m wondering if I’ll ever be good enough to write something science fictiony, and have it work as well as well as Aliens.

But maybe it was a chick thing, on Friday, to burst into tears after spending an hour and a half getting to the British Library (there was an incident of some sort, so the police had cordoned off half the street so I had to walk to St Pancras from halfway down City Road, in very high red heels), only to discover that I’d left my card behind and couldn’t get into the reading room. I was already overwrought because it had taken so long to leave that house that I felt like I was living out my recurring nightmare of never getting anywhere because of having so much stuff to pack. So I went to the membership desk and asked if there was anyway of getting a temporary membership card and the man said yes, there was, if I paid £5 and provided proof of address and identity. Since I can’t even afford to pick up my dry cleaning, let alone pay £5, and since I’m not in the habit of carrying around my latest gas bill, there was no way out of it, and in despair I rushed into the ladies’ and started howling. Naturally it would have been more efficacious to cry in front of the man at the reception desk but unfortunately I hate crying in front of other people. There was nothing for it but to get on the bus and go back home. I did, however, see a man in a suit playing a guitar in a parking lot and, tossed onto the top of a bus shelter, a potato that had been spraypainted blue and jabbed full of red toothpicks.

Meanwhile, I am going mental (just in case it wasn’t obvious from the abovementioned incident) because I haven’t been writing. I think the instability also has something with the fact that my baby (so to speak) of seven years has left me and now I need something else to fill the space. Stories keep welling up in me, bursting to be written down, and I just can’t seem to find the time.

At least now I’m writing in notebooks again, which I haven’t done for years, and I’m using the chocolate brown one that C sent me after we’d had a fight. I’m writing down my dreams, because A- said she’d had a dream that she, H and I had moved to a house by the beach, and I said I never had happy dreams, so I’m logging my dreams for a month to see what they’re like. So far I’ve had my only other recurring nightmare – about marrying a man I don’t love, and having a less-than-perfect wedding – and a dream about being frustrated with H because he was having a dinner party and it wasn’t organised, as usual.

And I have, at last, found an author who inspires me – Marguerite Duras. I’ve just finished ‘The War’ and for a day I was slightly stunned by the potency of her words. I read ‘The Lover’ last year, but I found the film far better than the book. Naturally, this had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Tony Leung was stark naked in it, but all the same I think I’ll go back to that book and try it again. And I might watch the film again too.

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One Response to “‘Must be a chick thing.’”

  1. Despite all the grey weather, crowds and bad coffee life can’t be too bad if your worst nightmare is a pink meringue wedding with a wonky cake. Who knows, maybe you’ll grow to love him when you realise he has pots of cash and a red convertible.
    My only nightmares involve the sudden loss of my superpowers as the alien/ghost/zombie hybrids close in with their ray guns. And yes, I have the mental maturity of a 7-year old.

    So far I’ve had my only other recurring nightmare – about marrying a man I don’t love, and having a less-than-perfect wedding – and a dream about being frustrated with H because he was having a dinner party and it wasn’t organised, as usual.

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