Sunday, 16 December 2012

Some nocturnal observations of a part-time insomniac


It is amazing how many real names begin with paired and consecutive letters of the alphabet: Arnold Bennett; Charles Darwin; Eric Forster, etc. They tend to tail off a bit toward the end, unless you resort to ancient characters in Greek tragedies. All of us in the North West Hemisphere are very lazy when it comes to naming things, stopping right at the beginning of the alphabet and avoiding the more exotic letters. 'Never let your daughter marry anyone whose name ends with a vowel', has been a maxim I have adhered to all her life.

The last drop: Is it more painful to die of asphyxiation by kicking the stool away from underneath your feet, or by the approved method of falling through a trapdoor to have your neck broken? The girlfriends of highwaymen would often hang onto the legs of their dangling loved ones, in the belief that it speeded up the process. Personally, I think I would find that a bit of a distraction when I was trying to concentrate on meeting my maker.

Royalty did not have to consider such banal questions, as they were always beheaded - that method being deemed more dignified, 'humane' and less painful. I'm not so sure. Some of those axe-men lacked - for obvious reasons - experience, and often botched it up horribly. There were even some cases of half-beheaded victims turning to the executioner and telling him to get his act together and finish the job properly.

Henry the Eighth cared for Anne Boleyn so much, that he had an expert swordsman brought over from France to do the job. The swordsman was such a professional that he hid his sword under the straw on the raised scaffold, and when Anne was blindfolded and kneeling in front of him waiting for the inevitable, he quietly picked up his sword and shouted "Bring me my sword!" to an imaginary assistant. Anne relaxed a little and turned toward his voice, offering the perfect target. Her head was off in one swipe, before she had a chance to flinch. That's what I call class.

What is the best way to avoid being chased around the street by a huge, American, vintage car full of teenage joyriders, as I was last night in my dreams? You simply make sure that the rear wheels are not in contact with the road surface. And what is the best way of doing that? Easy - you just overturn the whole car with the occupants still inside. You should have seen the looks on their faces! As is often the case with noisy teenagers in the street, they were quite harmless once out of the car, and I did not need to use the artist's easel that I had picked up as a weapon to defend myself.

And you wonder why I look so tired in the mornings...

21 comments:

  1. tired or not
    I think this is one of your better posts

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    1. I would take that as a compliment, were it not that you said that you thought Anthony Hopkins was a much better actor than Richard Burton, just because he keeps an onion to hand for emotional scenes. Somehow you seem to highly rate everything that I think is shite in the film world, and vice versa. Oh well, takes all sorts. Thanks anyway!

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    2. Than whom? I was a member of an art film club when I was 14. I froze my arse off in a working man's club in Woking, watching early Fellini and Bergman. I have seen more fillums in my youth than all the recent re-makes put together. I had one problem, and that was that one older man fancied me, and I kept having to change seats. The things we suffer for art, eh?

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  2. Bergman
    I shudder at the thought of it

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    1. So did I, but at least I actually sat down and watched it.

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    2. but I suspect you didnt understand it

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    3. I have now had enough of your patronising bollocks. Just because you are on the wrong side of 50 and have 'completed' a short course in 'cinema', that does not mean that you are not shockingly unqualified to pronounce on anything other than the most unwatchable US television episodes featuring zombies, or equally unwatchable musicals of the Sondheim variety.

      Even the critics who bore the shit out of me every night on the BBC have - in my opinion - no right to make or break any production (as if!) by giving their piss-poor opinion on it, even if it did matter to the paying public.

      Whether or not I understood 'La Belle et La Bete' has FUCK ALL to do with whether or not I liked it, and if you were attuned to the early surrealist film-making tradition - which you are obviously not - then you would know that you do not have to 'understand' it to enjoy it. That is the whole bloody point.

      Personally, I don't understand Judie Garland, other than her addiction.

      Do you understand yourself?

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    4. Have you seen Bergman's 'The Hour of the Wolf', or 'Virgin Spring'? If not, then shut the fuck up. I saw them a few years after they came out on the art circuit, and they are bloody good films.

      Another BLOODY good film (which I sent you as a DVD and which you sneered at) was 'A Canterbury Tale' by Powell and Pressburger. This is also Martin Scorsese's favourite film, if that makes any difference to your attitude to it.

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    5. Christ, you have pissed me off tonight, and - I promise - I will have the same approach tomorrow, before you start calling me an old soak again.

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    6. oh dear!
      perhaps you are right
      we will never agree on film reviews
      or perhaps on a bit of gentle ribbing thomas!
      chill!

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    7. ps studied HOUR OF THE WOLF at college
      hated it then
      hate it now

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    8. The only film that I have actually walked out of in deep disgust was 'The Ox' - a film by Bergman's cameraman. Did you ever watch it? The Swedish angst is so utterly extreme that it is verging - only verging, mind you - on humour. I walked out when the entire starving family began to vomit when trying to eat bits of rotten meat in the frozen hut they were forced to live in.

      I had just finished listening to yet another bunch of critics talking nonsense on the radio last night when I responded to your bit of nonsense. God, how I despise critics, and wonder what gives them the idea that they have a right to say anything other than "I liked/disliked that film/book/play/painting/sculpture". I tend to forget where the 'off' switch is halfway through.

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  3. Less cheese tonight Tom, more whisky.

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    1. No, that didn't work. Last night I hitched a lift to a vast area strewn with huge, square-cut rocks which was saturated with dry-ice smoke. Eventually the area was flooded with a mini tsunami, and the woman car-driver danced amongst the waves. Maybe I should have been a Swedish film-maker.

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  4. My late father's advice to his son (me) was... Never trust a man who drives a white Jaguar or who's name ends in a vowel (or even worse; both).

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    1. He must be turning in his grave now, CrO.

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  5. Wow, this is like a book club - just better!

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    1. We all ought to meet up every thursday evening around John's place and argue.

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