Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 3 May 2013
Scary Monsters - Super-Freaks
I had a dream the other night which - although based on absolute fact as recorded in an 'extras' disc for the DVD of the last Harry Potter film - just shows the extent of my pathetic detachment from reality.
In my dream, I was wandering around a ruined set for Harry Potter, and the deserted place was a mess, with water dripping from the ceiling, rubbish strewn around the floors and familiar props lying discarded in the semi-darkness. The whole area was saturated in a melancholic sadness which was deeply depressing.
I noticed a movement in a dark corner, then Daniel Radcliffe came out of the shadows and came toward me with tears streaming down his face. It turned out that he had come back to the place where he had spent the best part of his childhood as an actor, and he tearfully confided in me that he couldn't keep away from the place, and couldn't come to terms with the fact that the era of the Potter films had come to an end as he and the rest of the cast had grown up - just like they had in the chronological books set in real-time.
Well, at least he and the others had - unlike me - literally grown up in the ten or so years that the films were made. I had done the reverse. I went back to selective childhood in a cinema at Christmas time, when I watched episode one of the string of films.
I remember when I used to visit H.I. and her erstwhile husband all those years ago, and sat watching T.V. with them in the same room as I am now writing this. It was the period of the original 'Dallas' series, and we were addicted to it. I would turn up every week in the run-up to J.R.'s shooting, and we would settle down in excited anticipation for the half hour it took to get our fix. I don't think I had T.V. of my own, even then.
Her ex and me would look at her in astonishment as she shouted warnings at particular characters on the screen, trying to tell them of plots being obviously hatched against them, and I marvelled at her ability to completely absorb herself in the fiction, just as a child might.
H.I. still has all the books she possessed as a child, including truly astounding sketch-books of drawing and paintings done when she was 8 or 10 years old, showing episodes from history or geology lessons, drawn so skilfully and beautifully that they would put many adult artist's work to shame, even now. She was completely cut-out to be a painter - there had never been any question about it.
Anyway, there is one printed picture-book of a cartoon wolf who is plotting to eat an innocent lamb, and when H.I. was about five years old, she got about half-way through it before trying to prevent the wicked wolf from killing the lamb by scrawling a pen all over it's face in a desperate effort to destroy it. Like I say, she was completely absorbed in the fiction, despite her obvious and precocious intelligence.
I have not had a nightmare since I was about eight years old. That is not to say that I don't dream about some truly horrific and disturbing things, it's just that they don't affect me as nightmares. I have a detachment about stuff like that which - to me - indicates that there are not many dark things in my life which I have not faced up to, and which are forced to surface as my sub-conscious takes precedence during sleep. I might become worried or anxious about real events and situations, but I don't get irrationally frightened by unreal ones, no matter what they symbolise.
It was the overlapping of the real and unreal which I liked about the Potter films. They served the same purpose as Greek myths, except that they were tailored to modern children making their way into adulthood, giving them clear instructions as to how to deal with the devil within, and all the attendant dilemmas concerning adolescence.
That's no excuse for me to look over my shoulder, though. Maybe if 'The News' was a little less depressing, I wouldn't need to.