Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 12 May 2012
How do you do?
Day one of year 62, and the sun is actually shining.
I lay in bed this morning, listening to the radio whilst trying to pluck up the courage to get out, and I heard a vicar saying that he was recently stopped in the street by a middle-aged woman who confided in him that - normally a cheerful soul - the weather was really beginning to get her down. The weather has been so relentlessly horrid for so long now, that strangers are actually resorting to priests for solace.
Of course, the weather has always been the primary topic of conversation for the English, but usually it is employed as a neutral subject which excuses everyone from talking about something which might actually be meaningful. It is the height of boorishness to reply truthfully to the question, "How are you?" in this country, and a handbook was written for G.I.'s who found themselves posted to the U.K. in the 1940s, telling them so. In one way, it is heartening that - in a world made smaller by the day - the vastness of the atmosphere and our inability to control it still typifies the constant uncertainty of being alive - or at least being alive in England.
I am specifically talking about England, because I have the strong feeling that the rest of the U.K. just puts up with wetness without comment - think of the dour Scotsman trudging through the Glen in a kilt but no umbrella. Have you ever seen a Highlander with an umbrella? I think not. The Welsh moan about everything anyway, so the weather seems to hold no particular importance over anything else, even though they get more of their fair share of it, and the Irish seem to view rain as a blessing - as if the Emerald Isle was a parched desert for all but one month of the year.
I wish I could remember the name of a Sci-Fi film I saw years ago, or even find a clip of it on You Tube. I know that I have mentioned it here before, but there has never been a better time to watch it again as the last few weeks. The basic story is as follows:
A group of astronauts are forced to crash-land on a planet which is completely covered in dense, jungle vegetation, and the entire world is trapped in a perpetual rain-storm which has probably been chucking it down for thousands - if not millions - of years. That's it.
It must have been incredibly cheap to make, because the 4 or 5 actors spend the entire two hours standing on a set which is no bigger than about fifteen feet square, surrounded by enormous cheese plants which completely obscure the boundaries of the location and the lower half of their bodies, giving the impression that the jungle stretches to infinity, and a copious sprinkler system has been set up over their heads which throws down a constant barrage of water which hits the leaves of the cheese plants so loudly, that they have to shout their lines above the noise of it - for two hours.
By the time the film ends, the viewer is left completely exhausted. When you consider how much footage was shot and discarded during editing, you begin to understand that the poor actors must have spent a hell of a lot longer than two hours screaming themselves hoarse whilst soaked to the skin in cold water. Days - probably weeks - of this torture on set, to produce what has to be one of the most uncomfortable movies to have ever been produced. No wonder it has sunk without a trace.
You get the impression that the portrayal of fraying tempers and rising tension between the characters has it's basis in reality, and there is absolutely no need to employ method-acting techniques in this film.
Well anyway, the picture sums up the effect that the weather of the last few weeks has had on the inhabitants of this little part of our planet.