Reader, I want that DVD!

It’s amazing the influence that one excellent teacher can have on a person’s life. I think I have mentioned in passing Sister DOS and her wonderful Classics class that I took in Year 9. Through that class I discovered the world of classical literature, a love that hasn’t yet faded.

Mind you, as with all long relationships, that love was periodically rekindled each time a marvellous adaptation came along. In recent years there has been a vibrant film version Pride and Prejudice (a very different but still enjoyable beast to the 1995 TV version), the page-turner of a series in Bleak House where Scully was reincarnated as a dame (the book unfortunately is not the easiest of reads), and of course the wonderful North and South which needs no introduction.

Consulting my favourite classics list, we come to Jane Eyre. Now that is a firm, firm favourite of mine. I was moved to tears reading it as a 14 year-old and the effect hasn’t lessened with each re-reading. As a teenager I identified strongly with with the fierce spirit of Jane, the orphan who sought to belong. Re-reading it a few weeks ago, I found that I could identify with Mr. Rochester more. He didn’t seem so manipulative when you consider that he was terribly, terribly insecure. If you were deceived into a literal hell of a marriage by own family (that you can never ever get out of), was mistreated by everyone you cared for, and only regarded in a good light for your money, then you would be bitter too! His vulnerability was rather attractive actually. But being a total sop of a romantic, I most loved the emotional and spiritual connection these two had, and the beautiful way in which they completed one another.

Yes, I am very attached to that book, but I know I’m not the only one! So it was then inevitable that the BBC finally got around to adapting Jane Eyre. Not for the first time (more like the 4th), but the last was the very literal Timothy Dalton version in 1983, that apart from a very sexy Rochester had nothing else going for it. I also recalled not being very impressed with the Francis Zeffrelli version – William Hurt as Mr. Rochester? Too handsome by far (I still had Orson Welles’ Rochester on my mind). Plus Jane Eyre in that version seemed mute, which is ridiculous considering they were supposed to be intellectual equals.

So what did I think when I found out that Toby Stephens was taking on the role? Not very much, though I don’t have anything against Toby. He was very fetching as the young Gilbert Markham in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and I’ve seen him pop up on TV or film occassionally since. But from the few pictures from the new series I’d seen he looked not very desirable at all. Which, I suppose, was the point about Mr. Rochester, since he’s not supposed to be very handsome – but how can you go all gooey about someone who didn’t look good?

Then one (not so very busy) day (at work of course), I found the fire scene. Oh… my… god… How (pardon the pun) hot is that? Wonderfully beautiful and sexy and all that the scene could be. I had never seen a version of Jane Eyre so intimate and erotic. Actually, I’ve hardly seen a period drama scene so erotic. Repressed passion, of course, but this was exciting. By the following day I’d viewed all the YouTube clips of the series I could find – all of them excellent! Then I found out that the screenplay was written by the same person that adapted North and South, and it was directed by the same person as Bleak House – so it was definitely quality.

There was nothing else to do but preorder the DVD from the UK, since who knows when the ABC will get around to showing it – I can’t wait until mid or even late in the year for this! Still, I will have to wait until mid-February when the UK DVD is released, and until then I will be re-reading the book – just one more time.


Ever had an incident that, although very serious at the time, was excruciatingly funny when you retell it? That was the kind of incident that happened to me last weekend.

It was a warm, clear evening, and so I ate dinner on the balcony. My flatmate Melanie had her washing out there on the portable clothes line, and as she was going out, she took her clothes in before she left. What I didn’t notice while I was enjoying my meal was that she had also (accidently I might add) locked the door. A kind of automatic action that you don’t really take notice of most times, like locking the front door. I certainly didn’t, until five minutes after she left and wanted to head back in!

My first reaction was to spew a whole string of unsavoury words. I checked the door – it was locked, there was no way of slipping it out of its runners either. Not good. I looked down to see whether I could jump down to ground level (the apartment was on the first floor). Unless I was a good rock climber or even better, Spiderman, there was no way that I could gracefully jump down without injuring myself. Next option was whether there were any people about I could holler, perhaps use their mobile. But I know Melanie’s notorious with leaving her mobile behind and/or not switching it on, and my parents (who also have the keys to the unit) would panic if a total stranger called to say that their daughter was stuck on the balcony. Either that or they’d crack up laughing. Besides, there was a distinct lack of passers by on a Sunday evening.

So I couldn’t get through the door, couldn’t jump down, couldn’t call anyone (there were probably other options but they didn’t readily come to mind), so there really was only one option – wait it out.

The problem was that Melanie had gone to the movies. It was 7pm when I was locked out, and taking into account that she had to drive 15 minutes to pick up her friend and then drive another 10 minutes to the cinema she wasn’t going to make the 7.30 sessions, which meant she’d be viewing the 9pm movie. Then it would be 2 hours for the movie and another hour to get home (the thought did cross my mind that she may have been staying overnight – she had a big shopping bag with her), so that meant she wouldn’t be back until at least midnight! That was 5 hours!!


5 hours of what? Meditation? Thinking about the meaning of life? Solving world poverty? More like dozing in my chair and watching a lovely sunset while getting bitten by mozzies. Thank god it was a mild night, although it was getting quite cool by 11pm, especially when I had only a sleeveless top and thin track pants. I did however find out more about my neighbours, saw people coming in/out of the apartments that I had never seen before, and found innovative ways to, um, answer the call of nature (think pot plants). Yeah, it was a more interesting experience than I thought. Funnily enough, after the first 2 hours time seemed to go by relatively fast, and I wasn’t pissed off anymore. Perhaps it was just simply a case of accepting my fate and then sticking it out.

Melanie did come home, and got the shock of her life when she walked in just past midnight. But the situation was so absurd that she was rolling around laughing as I retold this story. But she did apologise nicely – she kindly made dinner the next day. I assume she’d take care next time when dealing with the balcony door. I hope.