I tried to buy a book for a friend in the US from Amazon.com today – the book itself cost $15 which works out as £9 and change at the current exchange rate. I asked for Super Saver Delivery. because there is still time.
And they wanted to charge me £27 – the book was going to be £15 of that which means they were ignoring the exchange rate, but they were slapping me with quite staggering postage and packing charges (it’s an ordinary-sized book) and some sort of surcharge. WTF?
Is there some new US law about foreign money that no-one told us about? Or has Amazon.com’s computer gone into meltdown?
I certainly shan’t be buying from them any time soon.
Meanwhile, I have to work out how to send my friend this peculiarly appropriate book…
And in other news, go and see Bright Star and take tissues with you. I saw it with ephemerita and we both cried buckets and so did most of the cinema.
For those people who don’t know, it’s the Jane Campion film about the last years of Keats, during which he wrote the Odes and ‘St. Agnes Eve’ and most of the stuff he is actually remembered for. He met Fanny Brawne and they fell in love, but he was too poor to marry, and was dying, and eventually went off to Italy for his health, and died. She never forgot him, even though she married and had children – and she kept his letters, most of which we have, along with her correspondence with his sister.
I have never seen grief so fabulously conveyed on film as in the scene where Abbie Cornish as Fanny hears of his death; I felt almost indecent watching it.
Some of the film is amazingly manipulative, but effectively so – Keats’ friend Brown is shown as a sexist clot whose own feelings for Keats are pretty intense, which explains his preventing her visits to Keats when the poet was ill better than lectures on medical ideas could. The simple closing credits have Ben Wishup recite the Nightingale ode over a vocal arrangement of the adagio from the Mozart 13 wind instrument serenade which has pervaded the film.
One of the best and most serious things I have seen in ages – and, in the way it takes Fanny’s fascination with fashion and sewing seriously, a film where feminism enables us to dispense with all the sexist nonsense of Victorian critics who thought Fanny an unworthy object of a great poet’s devotion.