I’m Going Back to the Start

Warning: The following may cause hyperventilation and faintness.

Still examining Toby Stephens’s body… of work (almost got you there, didn’t I?), I’ll cover three of his earlier offerings from 10 or so years ago. I’m afraid there won’t be much objective analysis on his performances here, because I’d have fallen to the floor in a faint!

First of all, Onegin. It’s the Fiennes family treatment of this Russian tragedy, and admittedly Toby only has a small part in it, but he sure does shine.

As a film it is beautiful, but these Russian stories are never very uplifting – Toby’s Lensky is definitely the most uplifting thing about it.

He does a very fine duel scene though.

But I’m pissed off that he lost!

Now, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was the first time I noticed Toby. I saw it when it was first aired (in the wake of my newfound love of period dramas following Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy) and I admit that I kept my recording of this for 10 years because I thought Toby’s Gilbert Markham was adorable!

It’s a good series, based on Anne Bronte’s novel. Quite confronting after Pride and Prejudice but I liked its realism. Gilbert is not exactly the most sophisticated romantic hero on the planet, but he was earnest, handsome, and passionate.

Also, the first time I saw Toby’s impeccable kissing technique!

Quick! Pass the smelling salts!!

And from my first Toby find to one of my last – Twelfth Night!

Why, oh, why didn’t I know about this film earlier? Toby again doesn’t have a huge part in it, but oh gawd, was he gorgeous! It brought us some memorable moments such as:

The strut.

The love song.

The bath!!

The near-kiss! Gaaaaaah!

After all that, I think I need a long lie down. Preferably in front of the TV, with a bottle of red wine, and my entire Toby collection!

Monkeying Around… Again

Been wandering again, this time to Bali. And despite visiting both terrorist bomb sites I came back whole, and even only experienced a very mild form of “Bali Belly”.

It’s funny going there because it was the first time I visited the country where I was born in, oh, almost 20 years? So unlike Japan it wasn’t exactly foreign, since I knew enough of the language to get by (although I definitely have an accent) and most of the food was familiar. But Bali had a particular culture all of its own since unlike much of the country it is the only island that’s predominantly Hindu.

So aside from the usual tropical holiday activities such as swimming, day spas, shopping, parasailing and whitewater rafting, I also visited Hindu temples, saw traditional dance performances, and even went to a cooking lesson.

In my pursuits I was joined by my aunt, who knew how to haggle at the markets, that’s for sure! And were helped by my distant aunt and uncle and their intrepid driver. As you can see, Bali is a very pretty place once you get away from the city and the tourist beach.

But one thing I couldn’t get away from was the bad-ass monkeys. I ran into them twice – once in Ubud at the Monkey Forest, and the second time at Uluwatu at the temples.

Don’t be duped by their cuteness. Unlike the polite Japanese ones from my last holiday these guys aren’t afraid to snatch anything (food, bags, cameras, bottles). Or display everything.