This is about The Book of Eli, curiously, a book which does not exist. Upon reflection, if you do see the movie, this will not surprise you. I stronglThis is about The Book of Eli, curiously, a book which does not exist. Upon reflection, if you do see the movie, this will not surprise you. I strongly advise if a book does come out, not to read it.
Things I want to ask:
What the fuck happened to Gary Oldman? Honestly. How could a guy who played the roles he did in Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead go to the US and play such crap over and over again?
Things I wish to observe:
I would have thought if you go to Gold Class and spend $74 on two tickets, they should make it easier than usual for you to have sex. Instead, the opposite is so. You get given these chairs that are so enormous, that even though you sit next to your companion, you might just as well be in the next cinema. My advice: if you are planning sex during a movie, go for the cheapest seats. By the way. I'm not necessarily saying I wanted to have sex. Or do I mean I'm not saying I necessarily wanted to have sex. I'm more just saying if I had wanted to...
The thing that kills me about US post-apocalyptic movies is that they take themselves so seriously. Jeez. Mad Max was made on a weekend on a budget of $50. The people making it had fun. The audience has fun. It spawned a whole industy of American big budget movies that are no fun.
Things you will want to know before you go to this movie:
Don't go if you don't like the bible. It wins. You'll be slightly less happy than a Swedophile watching somebody making Swedes look silly.
I'm not saying don't go to the movie. I'm just saying, but....
"One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said "We need a voice t
Bradbury on the sea:
"One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said "We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I'll make one. I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like the trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and to all who hear it in the distant towns. I'll make me a sound and an apparatus and they'll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life."
And although he writes of a beast of a hundred miles and a million years below who comes to the horn, to love it, I recalled it as I grew older as a whale and with this one story as child I was able to be horrified by the terrible, terrible things we do to the sea and its inhabitants. Does that matter? I think so. If everybody in the world had read this story as a child, we'd treat those things with the care and respect they deserve.
I cannot begin to say how wrong the people are who think that Ray Bradbury doesn't count, that he is for some period where we believed in things that we don't any more. He makes things important without proseltysing. It was a story about something that can't even exist and yet!
Bradbury explained his influence on kids like me thus:
Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor. We appreciate things like Daniel and the lion’s den, and the Tower of Babel. People remember these metaphors because they are so vivid you can’t get free of them and that’s what kids like in school. They read about rocket ships and encounters in space, tales of dinosaurs. All my life I’ve been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn one over and say, Yeah, there’s a story. And that’s what kids like. Today, my stories are in a thousand anthologies. And I’m in good company. The other writers are quite often dead people who wrote in metaphors: Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne. All these people wrote for children. They may have pretended not to, but they did.
Sorry. I want to say how amazing he is, again! He IS!!!...more
Ray Bradbury is the only writer I can say with certainty has not so much changed my life as made it what it is. I'm scarcely the first or last to sayRay Bradbury is the only writer I can say with certainty has not so much changed my life as made it what it is. I'm scarcely the first or last to say that, and most definitely not the most important.
Neil Gaiman began his acknowledgement to Bradbury thus:
I can imagine all sorts of worlds and places, but I cannot imagine one without Ray Bradbury. Not Bradbury the man (I have met him. Each time I have spent any time with him I have been left the happier for it), but Bradbury the builder of dreams. The man who took an idea of the American Midwest and made it magical and tangible, who took his own childhood and all the people and things in it and used it to shape the world. The man who gave us a future to fear, one without stories, without books. The man who invented Hallowe’en in its modern incarnation. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.u...
The story, 'The Illustrated Man', title story of this collection, won a special place in my heart, full as it was of his stories. It made me write my first published poem, 'The Illustrated Man' - I couldn't think of a better title. It was only very recently, reading an interview with Bradbury in The Paris Review that I discovered this character was also part of what made his life what it is.
Does literature, then, have any social obligation?
Not a direct one. It has to be through reflection, through indirection. Nikos Kazantzakis says, “Live forever.” That’s his social obligation. The Saviors of God celebrates life in the world. Any great work does that for you. All of Dickens says live life at the top of your energy. Edgar Rice Burroughs never would have looked upon himself as a social mover and shaker with social obligations. But as it turns out—and I love to say it because it upsets everyone terribly—Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.
Why do you think that?
By giving romance and adventure to a whole generation of boys, Burroughs caused them to go out and decide to become special. That’s what we have to do for everyone, give the gift of life with our books. Say to a girl or boy at age ten, Hey, life is fun! Grow tall! I’ve talked to more biochemists and more astronomers and technologists in various fields, who, when they were ten years old, fell in love with John Carter and Tarzan and decided to become something romantic. Burroughs put us on the moon. All the technologists read Burroughs. I was once at Caltech with a whole bunch of scientists and they all admitted it. Two leading astronomers—one from Cornell, the other from Caltech—came out and said, Yeah, that’s why we became astronomers. We wanted to see Mars more closely.
I find this in most fields. The need for romance is constant, and again, it’s pooh-poohed by intellectuals. As a result they’re going to stunt their kids. You can’t kill a dream. Social obligation has to come from living with some sense of style, high adventure, and romance. It’s like my friend Mr. Electrico.
That’s the character who makes a brief appearance in Something Wicked This Way Comes, right? And you’ve often spoken of a real-life Mr. Electrico, though no scholar has ever been able to confirm his existence. The story has taken on a kind of mythic stature—the director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies calls the search for Mr. Electrico the “Holy Grail” of Bradbury scholarship.
Yes, but he was a real man. That was his real name. Circuses and carnivals were always passing through Illinois during my childhood and I was in love with their mystery. One autumn weekend in 1932, when I was twelve years old, the Dill Brothers Combined Shows came to town. One of the performers was Mr. Electrico. He sat in an electric chair. A stagehand pulled a switch and he was charged with fifty thousand volts of pure electricity. Lightning flashed in his eyes and his hair stood on end.
The next day, I had to go the funeral of one of my favorite uncles. Driving back from the graveyard with my family, I looked down the hill toward the shoreline of Lake Michigan and I saw the tents and the flags of the carnival and I said to my father, Stop the car. He said, What do you mean? And I said, I have to get out. My father was furious with me. He expected me to stay with the family to mourn, but I got out of the car anyway and I ran down the hill toward the carnival.
It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I was running away from death, wasn’t I? I was running toward life. And there was Mr. Electrico sitting on the platform out in front of the carnival and I didn’t know what to say. I was scared of making a fool of myself. I had a magic trick in my pocket, one of those little ball-and-vase tricks—a little container that had a ball in it that you make disappear and reappear—and I got that out and asked, Can you show me how to do this? It was the right thing to do. It made a contact. He knew he was talking to a young magician. He took it, showed me how to do it, gave it back to me, then he looked at my face and said, Would you like to meet those people in that tent over there? Those strange people? And I said, Yes sir, I would. So he led me over there and he hit the tent with his cane and said, Clean up your language! Clean up your language! He took me in, and the first person I met was the illustrated man. Isn’t that wonderful? The Illustrated Man! He called himself the tattooed man, but I changed his name later for my book. I also met the strong man, the fat lady, the trapeze people, the dwarf, and the skeleton. They all became characters.
Mr. Electrico was a beautiful man, see, because he knew that he had a little weird kid there who was twelve years old and wanted lots of things. We walked along the shore of Lake Michigan and he treated me like a grown-up. I talked my big philosophies and he talked his little ones. Then we went out and sat on the dunes near the lake and all of a sudden he leaned over and said, I’m glad you’re back in my life. I said, What do you mean? I don’t know you. He said, You were my best friend outside of Paris in 1918. You were wounded in the Ardennes and you died in my arms there. I’m glad you’re back in the world. You have a different face, a different name, but the soul shining out of your face is the same as my friend. Welcome back.
Now why did he say that? Explain that to me, why? Maybe he had a dead son, maybe he had no sons, maybe he was lonely, maybe he was an ironical jokester. Who knows? It could be that he saw the intensity with which I live. Every once in a while at a book signing I see young boys and girls who are so full of fire that it shines out of their face and you pay more attention to that. Maybe that’s what attracted him.
When I left the carnival that day I stood by the carousel and I watched the horses running around and around to the music of “Beautiful Ohio,” and I cried. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew something important had happened to me that day because of Mr. Electrico. I felt changed. He gave me importance, immortality, a mystical gift. My life was turned around completely. It makes me cold all over to think about it, but I went home and within days I started to write. I’ve never stopped.
Seventy-seven years ago, and I’ve remembered it perfectly. I went back and saw him that night. He sat in the chair with his sword, they pulled the switch, and his hair stood up. He reached out with his sword and touched everyone in the front row, boys and girls, men and women, with the electricity that sizzled from the sword. When he came to me, he touched me on the brow, and on the nose, and on the chin, and he said to me, in a whisper, “Live forever.” And I decided to.
Ideas. The thing Bradbury brings to the world of writing but which literature scorns. Like all this books this one is full of them. Please read, as an example, 'The Veldt' http://www.veddma.com/veddma/Veldt.htm
It is a terrifying picture of a world in which automation and machines take over. Children become addicted to their entertainment in a way which makes them kill rather than accept losing it. Who hasn't seen the idea of this all around us? The kids may not kill, they generally wield enough power to be able to bully parents into what they want. Not so long ago, I observed some kids being told to leave their mobile phones at home while they went to the pictures, and refusing to do so; and then, a day or two later, a family at dinner in a restaurant, both kids glued to the screens they had brought with them, Bradbury's ideas so often turn from fantasy into fact. Amazing....more
So we had a physicist around to dinner the other day and thrust this at him. I can't call T---- by his real name, let's just say he rhymes with a dipSo we had a physicist around to dinner the other day and thrust this at him. I can't call T---- by his real name, let's just say he rhymes with a dip made with chickpeas and tahini. The reason I can't call him by his real name is that he works at a place that starts with C and rhymes with a complete lack of humour. He likes his job, I don't want to get him sacked for reading Penrose.
He flicks through it and the first thing I note is that physicists take about 5 nanoseconds to read what it takes ordinary mortals eons to get through. He starts with the cover, of course. 'Reviewed in the Financial Times?' A disparaging snort follows. 'Ah,' he says after the third nanosecond. 'He's written this type of science book.' I like that. I have no idea what it means, but I like it.
After four nanoseconds he is up to page 1050 or thereabouts. He reads out a question from it and says 'That is a good question. I don't know the answer.' Slaps book shut. Really, I mostly get the impression that real physicists like him just wish those other ones would just stop it. Stop with all the philosophical 'should we be worried about this?' stuff. Let's just get on with it p-lease.
And he says 'You didn't say the dinner invitation came with a catch.' I say 'But I didn't say it didn't, did I?'
I am seriously thinking of reading this while skipping every page that doesn't have only words on it. Seriously.