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Thomas Pynchon wears a Roky Erickson shirt on ‘The John Larroquette Show’ (sort of)


 
An item that caught my eye in a Sunday issue of the Los Angeles Times 20 years ago remains the strangest story I’ve yet come across in the entertainment section of a newspaper. It said that the novelist Thomas Pynchon, who has never consented to be photographed or interviewed by a journalist in his adult life (unless this 2001 Japanese Playboy interview is authentic), had given script notes to John Larroquette of Night Court fame for an episode of the actor’s new TV series. Stranger still, one of these notes revealed Pynchon’s preference for the great rock’n'roll singer Roky Erickson over Willy DeVille. What a marvelous time to be alive, I thought, with what remained of my mind. Remember, this was ten years before Pynchon appeared in an episode of The Simpsons looking like the Unknown Comic, and in company so incongruous as to beggar belief.

Unlike some sitcom actors you could name, Larroquette likes to read books. (He has an impressive collection of first editions with a particular focus on the work of Samuel Beckett.) For one episode in the first season of The John Larroquette Show, in which Larroquette played John Hemingway, the alcoholic manager of a bus station in St. Louis, the actor had an idea for a story about Pynchon. He sent the script to Pynchon’s agent—who I believe must have been Melanie Jackson, to whom Pynchon has been married since 1990—and the author obligingly replied. I’ve never seen the episode, “Newcomer,” which had aired several months before the article appeared, but I hold out hope it will turn up on YouTube.

Here’s the meat of the story reported by the Times:

Pynchon has a special love for the losers lost on the wayside of the American dream. So co-executive producer Larroquette decided to feature Pynchon in a script and sent the work-in-progress to Pynchon’s agent for approval.

“We made up a novel that he hasn’t written—and he gave us permission to say that he had written ‘Pandemonium of the Sun,’ ” Larroquette says.

The mysterious, never-photographed Pynchon refused, however, to let a “Larroquette” extra, in a plaid shirt, be videotaped from the rear and represented as Pynchon.

One scene called for Hemingway’s antagonist, the lunch counter operator, Dexter (Daryl “Chill” Mitchell), to reveal, quite casually, that he’s a longtime pal of the much-traveled writer.

“You must have seen him, he was sitting here last night!” Dexter insists. The script says Pynchon was wearing a T-shirt with the picture of a certain, obscure musician.*

“Pynchon, through his agent, wrote back and says, ‘Would you please make it a picture of Rocky [sic] Erickson on the T-shirt?’ ” Larroquette says.

“I looked up Rocky Erickson. He was a psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll musician in the ‘60s who was institutionalized shortly thereafter and spent most of the rest of his life in an insane asylum. Somebody that Pynchon liked, I guess.”

*Willy DeVille of Mink Deville
 

Dr. Timothy Leary talks about his wish to meet Thomas Pynchon

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The beautiful mind of Iris Murdoch
10.07.2014
04:06 am

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
dementia
Iris Murdoch
Alzheimer's disease

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It’s the biting and the kicking and the hitting that comes as a surprise, especially in one so old. The shouting and swearing were always present, but the biting, that’s probably the most unexpected. My father has Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s not quite the happy sing-a-long of “getting by with a little help with your friends” as the current ad on British TV suggests. It’s is well-intentioned of course, but the reality for most carers, most families when dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s is nothing like a rousing chorus of a Lennon and McCartney number. It is stressful, constant, endless, unrelenting, with little to no respite. Indeed, my father seems no longer capable of sleep. It’s called “sundowning,” when twilight begins and night closes in, the sufferer becomes anxious, fretful, often aggressive. My father knows he has something to do, but he does not know what.

Last year, when I had four rounds of surgery for cancer and post-operative infection, there was the inevitable thoughts of mortality before the anaesthetic sent me off to temporary oblivion. In the same way, I think nightfall (darkness) brings some subconscious response to the end of life, the rush of panic, the rage against the dying of the light—so much still to do, but what, but what? There’s not much else one can do but try and soothe, listen and help.

All this has made me a cheery little fellow, and of late I have reading Iris Murdoch and sadly thinking how Alzheimer’s eroded her once great mind. Here was an author who was described by her husband John Bayley as “the most intelligent woman in England,” who was said to have composed the novels in her head first before putting first mark on paper—which is some remarkable feat. Together Murdoch and Bayley lived an intensely cerebral and sheltered life at their home, Cedar Lodge, in Steeple Aston, Oxford. They had their own language, held tight in their own world—once removed from the fickle fashions of modern culture. It was a hothouse where Murdoch returned again and again to her favored classics, rarely reading any modern literature, drawing much of her inspiration from the works of William Shakespeare.

Everything comes out of Shakespeare: pure romance, melodrama, marvellous characters, poetry, and wisdom about life. I read the plays again and again hoping something will rub off.

Things did indeed rub off—most obviously in her novels A Fairly Honorable Defeat (based on Much Ado About Nothing), The Black Prince (a reworking of Hamlet), The Sea, The Sea (elements of The Tempest) and The Good Apprentice. Writing fiction allowed Murdoch to revel in the complex ambiguities, the magic and mystery of life. She created self-contained worlds, like perfect snow globes that may to some now seem dated now but are ultimately still immediate and relevant because of Murdoch’s ability to tell a story. Spinning a yarn, as she once pointed out, is “a fundamental human form of thought.” Which made her loss to Alzheimer’s all the more tragic.

Murdoch did not give many television interviews, those that are available on YouTube are of a rather dry discussion on philosophy and literature, which is all fine and dandy but don’t reveal much of her giggly enthusiastic personality as this interview between Murdoch and James Atlas for the 92Y and The Paris Review does, capturing the author at her brightest and best as she discusses her life and career.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to high school students: ‘Pretend you’re Count Dracula!’
10.06.2014
05:33 am

Topics:
Heroes
Literature

Tags:
Kurt Vonnegut

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Years ago when I was a producer in television,  I recall that there were many discussions on how broadcasters could encourage younger viewers to have brand loyalty with a particular channel. The proposed idea was that if a broadcaster could successfully capture (strange choice of word, I know) a young audience then they were building the consumers of their future output. A rather obvious idea but one that appeared to work—well, at least for me, as I still look with particularly fondness on those shows that illuminated my childhood, and by association the broadcaster. The holy grail here was considered to be quality returnable series and quirky presenters with whom the young ‘uns could identify and grow up with.

I have been told publishers have similar discussions on inculcating brand loyalty through their authors. So you would think, therefore, that when a group of teenagers were set a project by their school teacher encouraging them to write a letter to their favorite author, that these chosen writers would leap at the chance to win over their future readers. Well apparently not, as one class of pupils at Xavier High School in New York found out in 2006, when their teacher (Ms. Lockwood) set this task, and letters were sent out to a variety of authors, with only one writer taking the time to reply.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise that it was the great pessimistic humanist Kurt Vonnegut who was the only author to write back. Who the others were, I don’t know, but I wonder if they’re still popular with readers at Xavier High? Anyway, Vonnegut took the time to read the letter, which asked requested that he make a personal appearance at Xavier. Vonnegut was then 84, “an old geezer” as he called himself, and demurred visiting the school. However, he did offer the five students and their teacher some fine advice on how best to experience life and to grow their souls. It’s a beautiful letter, giving some of the most inspiring advice any high school student could ask for.

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

 
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In 2014, Dogtooth Films made a short film based on Kurt Vonnegut’s letter, using pupils from Hove Park School.
 

 
Via Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Birdbrain’: Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist punk single, 1981
10.03.2014
04:54 am

Topics:
Literature
Punk

Tags:
Allen Ginsberg


 
Most of Allen Ginsberg’s recorded music consists of the poet chanting to the accompaniment of his harmonium. While I enjoy the mantras, original folk songs (particularly “Father Death Blues”), and interpretations of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, my favorite Ginsberg tune is “Birdbrain,” a six-and-a-half minute punk novelty record made with a Denver band called The Gluons. As friends, relatives, lovers, neighbors, passengers and passersby will attest, I’ve been known to listen to this thing for hours on end.

“Birdbrain” fits Ezra Pound’s definition of literature as “news that STAYS news.” While some of the references to current events are now 33 years out of date, “Birdbrain” remains fresh if only because I don’t know of another song that treats the subject of human stupidity so sweetly. Of course we’re all one, the song says: we’re all the same drooling moron. In the same way “Birdbrain” balances its misanthropic theme with an attitude of compassionate loving-kindness, the record works as a hybrid of punk and poetry. I prefer it to “Ghetto Defendant,” Ginsberg’s 1982 collaboration with The Clash.

Recorded in Denver while Ginsberg was teaching at Naropa, “Birdbrain” was distributed by Denver’s Wax Trax! record store (a separate entity from the Chicago store and label). A dub version appears on the scarce 1983 LP Allen Ginsberg with Still Life, produced by Gluon Mike Chappelle. According to the Diamond Sutra, if you play this loud enough in your office cubicle, you will achieve Buddhahood.
 
“Birdbrain,” the single

 
I can’t find a clip of the B-side, the Gluons’ “Sue Your Parents,” but here’s a Lounge Lizards-y live version from 1981:
 
Allen Ginsberg and the Job play “Birdbrain,” San Francisco, November 1981


 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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For sale: Lovely Massachusetts home, harbor and ocean access, haunted by T.S. Eliot
10.02.2014
08:17 am

Topics:
Amusing
Literature

Tags:
T.S. Eliot


 
A Gloucester, Massachusetts house in which the great 20th century writer T.S. Eliot spent some 20 summers is for sale. Like pretty much any stately home on the New England coast, it’s just absolutely grand. Nestled between Gloucester Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean, it sits among some of the most humane surroundings 1.3 million dollars can offer. And according to the seller’s late husband, Eliot is still there.

“My husband used to claim that he used to see T.S. Eliot’s ghost or hear his ghost,” [Dana] Hawkes said. “He said, ‘Maybe this will inspire me to write a novel.’ Because my husband, before he passed away, was working on a novel. But, yeah, he felt that there was some spiritual entity here within the house.”

Eliot’s ghost is not mentioned among the amenities in the real estate listing for the estate, which is now up for sale.

Though he was born in St. Louis (in a house that evidently no longer stands, or he’d presumably be haunting that one), his was a Brahmin family, and as he was educated at Milton and Harvard, Eliot’s Boston-area roots were deep. The poet lived in Great Britain, of course, for much of his adult life.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Jayne Mansfield reads the poetry of Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning and others


 
Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me, Jayne Mansfield’s delicious album from 1963 or 1964 (depending on where you look), has never seen a CD release and it’s not available on the music streaming services I consulted. That scarcity has driven up the price: right now you can get a copy from Amazon.com for $60 and up.

Assessing Mansfield’s intelligence is something of a mid-20th-century parlor game. Quoting Wikipedia: “Frequent references have been made to Mansfield’s very high IQ, which she claimed was 163. She spoke five languages, including English. ... Reputed to be Hollywood’s ‘smartest dumb blonde’, she later complained that the public did not care about her brains: ‘They’re more interested in 40–21–35,’ she said.” Wasn’t there some meme about Jayne Mansfield enjoying the works of Immanuel Kant? Where did I get that from, some James Ellroy novel?

So how are her recitations of some of the greatest erotic poetry in the English language? Welllll, just fine, I think. I wouldn’t say she exactly reads them well—she reads them about the way you’d expect a big movie star to read them, crisply and evenly, perhaps a little too briskly. She brings a purr to the material that you wouldn’t probably get from current U.S. poet laureate Charles Wright, let’s say.

Here’s a track listing, followed by a clip of about six minutes from the album:
 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How Do I Love Thee”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Indian Serenade”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Good-Night”
Robert Herrick, “You Say I Love Not”
Henry Constable, “If This Be Love”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Lady’s ‘Yes’” -
Lord Byron, “She Walks In Beauty”
William Shakespeare, “Cleopatra”
Christopher Marlowe, “Was This The Face”
Joseph Beaumont, “Whiteness, Or Chastity”
Anonymous, “Madrigal”
Leigh Hunt, “Jenny Kiss’d Me”
Anonymous, “Verses Copied From The Window Of An Obscure Lodging House”
Thomas Otway, “The Enchantment”
Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Sheperd To His Love”
Robert Herrick, “Upon The Nipples Of Julia’s Breast”
Ben Jonson, “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes”
Lord Byron, “The Lovers”
Robert Herrick, “To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Inclusions”
William Butler Yeats, “When You Are Old”
William Wordsworth, “Daffodils”
William Shakespeare, “Take, O, Take Those Lips Away”
Thomas Carew, “Mark How The Bashful Morn”
Anonymous, “Oh! Dear, What Can The Matter Be?”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Miller’s Daughter”
Charles Sackville, “The Fire Of Love”
Sir John Suckling, “The Constant Lover”
John Dryden, “Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow”
Thomas Moore, “Believe Me, If All Those Enduring Young Charms”
Anonymous, “Love Me Little, Love Me Long”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Philip K. Dick on sex between humans and androids
09.10.2014
08:22 am

Topics:
Heroes
Literature

Tags:
Philip K. Dick
Blade Runner
philosophy


 
In 1981, Philip K. Dick discussed the ideas and themes behind his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in an interview with author Paul M. Sammon. Dick’s novel about a hired assassin (Rick Deckard) paid to eliminate escaped androids formed the basis for Ridley Scott’s classic science-fiction film Blade Runner. The story had its genesis in research for his novel The Man in the High Castle. Dick studied psychological studies on the mentality of the Germans who became Nazis and read how these Germans were often highly intelligent but emotionally “so defective that the word human could not properly be applied” to them.

This led Dick to a philosophical investigation into “the problem of differentiating the authentic human being from the reflex machine I call an android.” 

For me the word ‘android’ is a metaphor for people who are physiologically human but psychologically behaving in a non-human way.

This was a subject Dick discussed in a lecture on “The Android and the Human” in 1972:

...an android means, as I said, to allow oneself to become a means, or to be pounded down, manipulated, made into a means without one’s consent—the results are the same. But you cannot turn a human into an android if that human is going to break laws every chance he gets. Androidization requires obedience. And, most of all, predictability. It is precisely when a given person’s response to any given situation can be predicted with scientific accuracy that the gates are open for the wholesale production of the android life form.

 
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Philip K. Dick.
 
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick developed the idea of “androidization” further when he considered what would happen in a war between humans and androids—would humans become more android-like if they won?

This emotional interplay between humans and androids was also examined in the relationship between Deckard and the android Rachael Rosen, which Dick discussed in “Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (1968):

And this brings up the whole underlying subject: sexual relations between humans and androids. What is it like? What does it mean? Is it, for instance, like going to bed with a real woman? Or is it an awful, nightmarish, bad trip, where what is dead and inert seems alive and warm and capable of the most acute intimacy known to living creatures? Isn’t this, this sexual union between Rick Deckard and Rachael Rosen—isn’t it the summa of falsity and mechanical motions carried out minus any real feeling, as we understand the word? Feeling on each of their parts. Does in fact her mental—and physical—coldness numb the male, the human man, into an echo of it?

...[Deckard’s] relationship, by having intercourse with her, has melded him to—not an individual, human or android—but to a whole type or model, of which theoretically, there could be tens of thousands. To whom, then, has he really given his erotic libido?

...Here, I think, the crucial questions of What is reality? and What is illusion? come up strongly….The more Rick strives to force her to become a woman—or, more accurately, to play the role of a woman—the more he encounters the core of the unlife within her…his attempt to make love to her as a woman for him is defeated by the tireless core of her electronic being.

Dick postulates that the failure of their lovemaking “may be vital in his determination—and success—in destroying the last of these andys.”

In this interview, Dick discusses some of these key questions about what is reality? what is human?
 

 
Thomas M. Disch once said that his friend Philip K. Dick liked to play-up the image of the hard-done-to artist, struggling in the garret, living off ground-up horse meat (which supposedly led Dick to translate his name into “Horselover Fat”—Philip Greek for horse lover, Dick German for fat), but things were never really that bad. However, he agreed America gave short-shrift to speculative science-fiction writers, and was grateful for the adulation and serious critical appraisal both received in Europe.

In 1977, Philip K. Dick was interviewed for French television where he discussed the problems of being a speculative science-fiction writer in America, as well as many of the philosophical ideas behind his works.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Cool minimalist cover art for the new James Bond 007 audiobooks
09.04.2014
07:43 am

Topics:
Books
Literature
Media

Tags:
James Bond
007


 
Good news for Bond fans from SpyVibe:

The Reloaded editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, read by prominent British actors, was re-released yesterday in the US by Blackstone Audio. The collapse of AudioGo last year had Bond fans clambering for out-of-print CDs and box sets, but Ian Fleming Publications was able to strike a deal with Blackstone to keep the recordings in circulation. Each 007 title is available in CD, download, and MP3 CD editions.

The “prominent British actors” reading the novels include the likes of David Tennent, Kenneth Branagh, Rosamund Pike (who acted in the Bond film Die Another Day), and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, among many others. The new audiobooks also sport some extremely cool geometric/abstract cover art. If the artwork looks familiar, it should—these abstractions were used by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer paperback series of the Ian Fleming novels just a couple of years ago. In addition to issuing the new series, Blackstone is also keeping in print a series of Bond audiobooks from 2009, read by the acclaimed narrator and voice actor Simon Vance. That series had a cheesecakey, retro-kitsch cover design scheme, which we thought would be fun to A/B with the new ones—the contrast is awfully stark.
 


Octopussy
 
 


Casino Royale
 
 


You Only Live Twice
 
 


The Spy Who Loved Me
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The creepy fantasies that inspired John Fowles’ novel ‘The Collector’

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John Fowles was a 37-year-old school teacher when his first novel The Collector was published in 1963. Though Fowles had been writing for fifteen years completing two novels and an early draft of his second book The Magus, he considered himself “unpublishable.” Then he started work on an idea about a man who kidnaps a young art student and keeps her imprisoned in the basement of his home.  Fowles wrote the book in about a month, and thinking he had nothing to lose sent the manuscript off to his agent, Michael S. Howard who liked it and passed it on to the publishers Jonathan Cape. Tom Maschler at Cape thought The Collector a powerful and impressive debut, but was concerned that Fowles (who thought of himself a “serious writer”) may damage his reputation with such a lurid and disturbing tale. Fowles was adamant—he wanted the book published under his own name.

Anyone familiar with The Collector may have wondered what inspired Fowles’ grim tale. In a letter written to Maschler in July 1962, the author explained his sources in writing the novel:

...all this came from a newspaper incident of some years ago (there was a similar case in the North of England last year, by the way). But the whole idea of the woman-in-the-dungeon has interested me since I saw Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, which was before the air-raid shelter case.

 
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Film poster for ‘The Collector’ starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, 1965.
 
The news story Fowles mentioned concerned “a man who had kidnapped a girl and imprisoned her for several weeks in an air-raid shelter at the bottom of his garden.”

While the musical reference Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (1911) told the story of Duke Bluebeard who warns his new bride Judith not to open any of the seven doors in his castle. Impelled by curiosity, Judith opens each of the seven doors finding behind the first a torture chamber and behind the last, the ghosts of Bluebeard’s previous wives.
 
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Terence Stamp as butterfly collector Frederick Clegg.
 
However, there was far darker, more personal and disturbing inspiration for the novel, which Fowles explained in his journal entry for February 3rd, 1963:

The Collector. The three sources.

One. My lifelong fantasy of imprisoning a girl underground.

I think I must go back to early in my teens. I remember it used to be famous people Princess Margaret, various film stars. Of course, there was a sexual motive; the love-through-knowledge motive, or motif, has also been constant. The imprisoning in other words, has always been a forcing of my personality as well as my penis on the girl concerned.

Variations I can recall: the harem (several girls in one room, or in a row of rooms); the threat (this involves sharing a whip, but usually not flagellation—the idea of exerted tyranny, entering as executioner); the fellow-prisoner (this by far the commonest variation: the girl is captured and put naked into the underground room; I then have myself put in it, as if I am a fellow-prisoner, and so avoid her hostility).

Another common sexual fantasy is the selection board: I am given six hundred girls to choose fifty from and so on. These fantasies have long been exteriorized in my mind, of course; certainly I use the underground-room one far less since The Collector.

Two, the air-raid shelter incident.

Three, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

 
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Samantha Eggar as art student Miranda Grey.
 
Fowles separated The Collector into three sections, where the captor (Frederick Clegg) and his prisoner (Miranda Grey) describe the events of the book. It begins with Clegg describing the subject of his obsession:

When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe. She and her younger sister used to go in and out a lot, often with young men, which of course I didn’t like, When I had a free moment from the files and ledgers I stood by the window and used to look down over the road over the frosting and sometimes I’d see her. In the evening I marked it in my observations diary, at first with X, and then when I knew her name with M. I saw her several times outside too. I stood right behind her once in queue at the public library down Crossfield Street. She didn’t look once at me, but I watched the back of her head and her hair in a long pigtail. It was very pale, silky, like burnet cocoons. All in one pigtail coming down almost to her waist, sometimes in front, sometimes at back. Sometimes she wore it up. Only once, before she came to be my guest here, did I have the privilege to see her with it loose, and it took my breath away it was so beautiful, like a mermaid.

 
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Clegg (Stamp) and Miranda (Egggar) in William Wyler’s film version of ‘The Collector.’
 
Fowles’ intention was not just to write a horror story, but to use the characters of Clegg and Miranda as conduits for his own analysis and critique of modern society, in particular his contempt for the lack of intellectual rigor in contemporary fiction—the Angry Young Men who had so forcefully invaded with John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger—and for the failure of socialism to bring equality and change to Britain:

The plot of the novel was:

1. present a character who was inarticulate and nasty, as opposed to the “good” inarticulate hero, who seems to be top dog in post-war fiction and whose inarticulateness is presented as a kind of crowning glory.

2. present a character who is articulate and intelligent—the kind of young person I try to make Miranda Grey—and who is quite clearly a better person because she has a better education.

3. attack the money-minus-morality society (the affluent, the acquisitive) we have lived in since 1951.

On its publication, The Collector was a best-seller. The paperback rights were optioned for “probably the highest price that had hitherto been paid for a first novel”.  The film rights were sold and a movie starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar was made in Hollywood and London directed by William Wyler.
 

 
In 1984, The Smiths used a still of Terence Stamp as Clegg from The Collector on the cover of thier single “What Difference Does It Make?” As the actor had not given permission for the image to be used, the single was quickly reissued with Morrissey copying Stamp’s original pose—though a glass of milk had replaced the chloroform.
 
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Terence Stamp as Clegg on the cover of The Smiths single ‘What Difference Does It Make?’
 
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Morrissey as Clegg on the reissued single.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Brickjest,’ the LEGO version of ‘Infinite Jest’ by David Foster Wallace


“These are three Deans—of Admissions, Academic Affairs, Athletic Affairs. I do not know which face belongs to whom,” p. 3
 
Infinite Jest, the famously brilliant and famously unread 1996 novel by David Foster Wallace, frequently described as the most important novel of the 1990s and then some ... finally has inspired a LEGO muse to take up the task of executing a brick adaptation. It is called BrickJest. Infinite Jest is about many things, including tennis, addiction, filmmaking, corporate sponsorship, and terrorism. It’s a rich tapestry that positively cries out for the medium of brightly colored plastic bricks.

Charmingly, the photos below (just a fraction of the whole) are the fruits of a collaboration between Prof. Kevin Griffith of Capital University and his eleven-year-old son Sebastian, who “created all the scenes based on his father’s descriptions of the relevant pages.” They were jointly inspired by The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith.
 

“‘I am not just a creatus, manufactured, conditioned, bred for a function.’ ... ‘Sweet mother of Christ,’ the Director says,” p. 12
 

“He felt similar to the insect inside the girder his shelf was connected too, but was not sure just how he was similar,” p. 19
 

“And out of nowhere a bird had all of a sudden fallen into the Jacuzzi,” p. 44
 

“The tall, ungainly, socially challenged and hard-drinking Dr. Incandenza’s May-December marriage to one of the few bona-fide bombshell-type females in North American Academia, the extremely tall and high-strung . . . Avril Mondragon . . .,” p. 64
 

“So but when Schtitt dons the leather helmet and goggles and revs up the old F.R.G.-era BMW cycle . . . it is usually eighteen-year-old Mario Incandenza who gets to ride along in the side-car . . .,” p. 79
 

“Feral hamsters are not pets. They mean business,” p. 93
 

“Video telephony rendered the fantasy insupportable,” p. 146
 

“1610h. Weightroom freestyle circuits. The clank and click of various resistance-systems. Lyle on the towel dispenser . . .,” p. 198
 

“Gately now shares the important duty of ‘breaking down the hall,’ sweeping floors and emptying ashtrays . . .,” p. 360
 

“Clipperton plays tennis with the Glock 17 held steadily to his left temple,” p. 409
 

“Gately has to smile at the Wraith’s cluelessness . . .a drug addict’s second most meaningful relationship is always with his domestic entertainment unit, TV/VCR or HDTP,” p. 834
 
via Biblioklept

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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