Sunday, September 27, 2009

Epigraphs for three unwritten novels

"[He] neglected invesitgating one of the walls as a result of a deduction to the effect that the door of a room in the upper storey of a house is rarely to be found in the same wall which contains the window."
Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two Birds

SOLYONY (Entering drawing room from the reception room with CHERBUTYKIN): With one hand I can't lift more than fifty pounds, but with both hands it goes up to two hundred pounds. Which leads me to conclude that two men are not twice as strong as one, but three times strong, even stronger. . .
Chekhov, Three Sisters

"If we were all suddenly someone else."
Joyce, Hades chapter of Ulysses

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My companion at 90-minute mark: "When is this thing over?"

Went with the ten-year-old last night to see It Might Get Loud, the Inconvenient Truth guy's documentary about electric guitars. (No, I don't mean Al Gore. He must be, what, sixty years old.) Jimmy Page seems remarkably sane and benevolent for someone who was once strung out on smack, allegedly helped destroy numerous hotel rooms, hand-picked a former wrestler to run his label and rough guys up, and was deep enough into the devil to buy Aleister Crowley's old crib. Watching him play old 45s is kind of like hanging out with your newly-mellow Vietnam-vet uncle.

The Edge is the very serious fellow we suspected. Not many destroyed hotel rooms in this guy's past. The Christianity he burst onto the scene with has been transformed into a rather impressive, monk-like search for perfect guitar sounds. He is a parer-downer: plays an E chord with three strings. When Page launches into the blues, Edge gets the same skeptical-father-in-law look that McCain had when he debated Obama. One of the shortcomings of the film is its failure to address Edge's right-on dismissal of the era of the epic guitar solo, which the discovery of the Buzzcocks, Pistols, Clash, et al, emancipated him from, and which Page, on the other hand, was the godfather of. How the filmmakers failed to cash in on this brewing confrontation is hard to fathom. But no, they keep it friendly.

There are just too damn many stories jockeying for attention in this film. Which brings us to Jack White. Dude should have a whole movie to himself. He brings the same genius for conceptualization to this film that he brings to the Stripes. Opening shots of him building a guitar from a 2 x 4, a Coke bottle, some twine, and the most bare-boned pick-up imaginable, while a pasture full of Herfords looks on, is the highpoint of the film--and, I feel sure, was White's idea, not the director's. As was, no doubt, the recruitment of the child in the Panama hat to act as a sort of mini-White. Watching the two of them driving dream-like through empty landscapes gives us a glimpse of a never-made, better film.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dream of the month

So, a little confused as to what I'm even doing here (as one often is in a dream), I suit up and run onto the practice field. Whole team is out there, running drills, loosening up, all that jazz. Coach looks me over and says, "You ever played football?"

"No," I tell him, "but I've played hot dog."

"Hot dog?! What the hell is that?"

"Well, it's almost the same as football. Same rules, same helmet and pads. But instead of a football you play with a hot dog."

Best reason yet to drink whisky

If you thought Wes Anderson's Amex spot was impressive, check out this Johnny Walker ad. Joins Touch of Evil and Goodfellas in the single-take hall of fame.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The End of History

Some of my many, many readers may have noticed that the link to the left called "the history of water" is no longer working. My only explanation is that, before I discovered it, the site actually had no visitors and I single-handedly brought down their server.