Sunday, 26 June 2016
A few lines from the introduction to HG Wells the First Men in the Moon. Not the best known of wells significant output and for some reason neither as loved or regarded of so much of the great man's other work. Yet I think even this brief introduction serves most eloquently to draw the reader on. It is a direct appeal to The Spirit Of Man and a notion that wells held close to not only his heart but the great mind that drove his speculative output.
I just watched the movie version of the book .The one with Lionel Jeffries as Mr cavor and not the silent version by Georges Melies(still a wondrous thing.) from boyhood I have had such a fondness for Lionel Jeffries jittery professorness. He brings it to almost every role he played. It was so endearing and familiar. a sort of silly cowardice married to a desperate need for self improvement; He knows all his own faults. not something we see very much in modern cinema. That sort of lived in humaness. The ability to be brave while scared.
I found a copy of this paperback in Jim McKevitt's Atomic Collectables (What a great sandwich board sign he has made for the pavement outside his store. It is a piece of modern art. Post modern art.)) and just had to have it for its great cover. It is very sixties pop and very faithful to the playful fantasy escapist cinema it is a well crafted part off. It does have its dark moments despite the warm humour that permeates. The opening theme and stark imagery of the opening credits is surprisingly melancholy. The screenplay for the movie was written by Quatermass' da Nigel Kneale and manages to maintain much of what is fine about Well's original novel and yet roots us in the "modern" world. It captures so well the tone of a story about the search for something better in this world or one close by. A search that may well end in disapointment and disillusionment but one well worth going on. A story that perhaps mirrors Well's own journey and where it brought him.
You have to love the interior of the Cavor space vessel, very Jules Verne, very Tardis secondary console room. It has curtains and comfy seats and tins of sardines. If one is to travel to the stars far better to travel there in style. Or at the very least a style one is comfortable with.
"No, do'nt cry.While there's life, there's..."
It is what was used to be called a boy's own adventure yarn. These days it would probably be considered a young adult knowingly Cornwallian post-retro naive celebration of cultural appropriation or some other such boobie babble. It was the kind of great book that was read and enjoyed by generations of boys and girls up to the seventies and eighties and I do so hope that still continues today. It is written in the same adventurous spirit as Ballantyne 's Coral Island or Stevenson's Kidnapped. Yet it also called to mind Daphne Du Maurier and Jamica Inn with its swarthy vision of Cornish smuggling and stormy nights on jet black shores.
I was very moved by the courage and loyalty shared by the main characters in this story. The author does not make things easy for the reader by telling him who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. He has some do bad things while others do good good things and we can decide where on the moral sliding scale of life they currently stand upon. the word love is not thrown about but we get to see the consequences of what people will do and what they will endure for love. The love of a father for a lost son and the ache of first love between a boy and the only girl he has ever cared for.
There is also a nice undercurrent of a ghost story or at the very least the sense a long dead soul that cannot find rest in the shape of Blackbeard!Har-Har!Blackbeard's curse reaches out beyond the grave to wring pain from those who would not listen to the words of his curse. Actually it is not as obvious as that. It is just that things play out in a way that suggests there might be more things in this world than are dreampt off by even the most worldly of us..
You know if there comes a blue day when you find yourself sick at heart and pining for the clear blue skies of your childhood and imagine there were days when everything seemed simpler than you could do worse than reach for a copy of this wee book. I do not know what determines a children's classic but this surely ticks a few of the boxes required.Failing that, it is just a fine book.
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
Terence Mc kenna was a wonderful and wonderful speaker . A truly enlightened being who saw the human condition for all it was and who with insight, wisdom and generosity of intellect attempted to elevate all, leaving none behind.
It was lovely to see him dressed as the enigmatic Elizabethan everyman wondering around Prague and waxing lyrically about the alchemical revelation and all the maybes we almost inherited.
At its heart beats a rhythmic poetical defence of enlightenment in the face of ignorance and political manipulation and the avarice of empire builders.And it is a joy to see and hear such an artistic and educational piece. one which shows one of the centuries most articulate speakers on the very top of his game. One cannot have gradations of uniqueness.One either is or is not unique. Terence was one such individual. And possessed of a special human quality. He was easy to like.
Seek it out.
In Terence Mc Kenna's own words "Find The Other."
Saturday, 18 June 2016
Holmes pursues the Ripper with all his vigour and all his brilliance. Illuminating along the way many dark corners of the Victorian establishment. Not all the filth of London was confined to the stinking alleyways and packed thorough fares of Whitechapel and the whole East End. Watson manfully tries at all times to relate that which he observes with a fair and descent eye but at times finds himself far out of his comfort zones(actually I find that an overused and self pitying modern trope)Here was an ex army officer who had fought and been wounded in Afghanistan but who blushes in the company of Oscar Wilde,like a likeable old trout gasping for air in a silken net.
Not every reader is going to like how Edward B. Hanna resolves the mystery of the Rippers identity or at least the conclusion Holmes reaches.I did. I like it very much and there is always room for more names in the frame for this monstrous mystery which seems no nearer solution.
The game is afoot and the destination is Whitechapel.
Sensible footwear is advised.
Saturday, 11 June 2016
It is a world that has since passed. as has the great man himself. I thought bowie was like the Himalayas or the moon. This huge presence which would always be there exerting its powerful gravitational and imaginative pull.
Now I sort of see him as this John Dee like figure.
A magician or a mage.
An alchemist whose medium was sound and vision.
The man who sold the world.
It is easy to forget when leads a linear existence, travelling forward through time one second at a time, that science and speculation can be funny as well as perplexing and even mostly both.
Am so enjoying seeing this comic breathe new life and creating new fans for a character who whilst popular has never quite broken through to the audience his bizarre and yet familiar world deserves. It should go a long way to addressing that.
Thursday, 2 June 2016
Ah, happy days.Then and now...