Tuesday, May 8, 2007


The Book Vs The Film

BOOKS are sexy.
You touch them,
you spend time alone with them,
they sit on your shelf quietly smirking because they know they are more

FILMS are more immediate
Less intrusive,
big and bold,
loud and proud.
You can share them,
they, usually, don't demand too much and give instant gratification.

It's kind of like comparing a long-term relationship with a one-night stand.
Sometimes, one thing leads to another, leads to another.

The Shining (King) 5 - 5 The Shining (Kubrick)
LOTR (Tolkien) 4 - 5 LOTR (Jackson)
Fight Club (Palahniuk) 3 - 5 Fight Club (Fincher)
The Beach (Garland 4 - 3 The Beach (Boyle)
The Silence of the Lambs (Harris) 5 - 5 The Silence of The Lambs

And so I tip-toed with trepidation down the flicks to see "Perfume: The
story of a murderer" (Tom Tykwer) and just wanted to devour the whole
enormous screen.
It was disgusting, putrid, beautiful, poinant, rich, ridiculously
extravagant, gravelly and succulent.
Yes, all these adjectives at once.

I read the book a couple of years ago on my weekend away in France (perfect)
and marvelled how Patrick Suskind (and his translator) managed to bring
smello-literature to the outskirts of the mainstream. The lead character's
passion for the sense of smell (which we all take for granted...only ever
being reminded when passing The Body Shop) was surely a vision to behold.
I ponder what it's like being a wolf or a shark or a moth.
Brilliant, I suspect.

My only criticism being that the Film's lead (played by Ben Wishaw) was way
too good looking for a part that demanded he never be noticed, but hell, I'm
sure you'll cope.
But please please please, don't get the DVD out, wait for good old Prince
Charles to do his duty in his entire red, velvety splendor.

And so, to sum up,
It's not a matter of which is better.
It's merely a case of which to do first.

Get to grips the fact that you will always be slightly disappointed with the
film because the unbridled joy of forging your own images and scenes from
books, and not being led by a director, eats this disappointment up and spits
it out.

Forthcoming attractions
(Get reading in time for the film release)
-The Curious Incident of the Dog in the nighttime (Book - Mark Haddon Vs
Director - Steve Kloves & Producer- Brad Pitt)
-His Dark Materials Trilogy (Book-Philip Pullman Vs Director (finally) Chris

(and I just cannot wait to see Hollywood transform Will Self's "Cock and
Bull" into some hardcore, widescreen action)

Kirsty Harris Artist March 2007


Wise Children
Angela Carter

Wise Children was Angela Carter¹s last novel and tells the story of two former chorus girls, Dora and Nora Chance (now Œtwo batty old tarts¹), and their theatrical family.

It is narrated by Dora in the form of her memoirs and tells, amongst other things, of their famous Shakespearean actor father, Melchior Hazard, and their relationship to him as his illegitimate twin daughters. Indeed Shakespeare is a very central figure in the novel ­ many of the characters and plot twists and turns are direct references to his plays. And through Dora¹s exhuberent and comic narrative ­ one gets a real sense of magic realism and of the carnivalesque side of life.

My favourite passage comes about halfway through the book when Dora and Nora visit the cinema to see their younger selves on screen in a production of ŒA Midsummer Night¹s Dream¹.

ŒIt took me donkey¹s till I saw the point but saw the point I did, eventually, though not until the other day, when we were watching The Dream again in Notting HillŠ Then I understood the thing I¹d never grasped back in those days, when I was young, before I lived in history. When I was young, I¹d wanted to be ephemeral, I¹d wanted the moment, to live in just the glorious moment, the rush of blood, the applause. Pluck the day. Eat the peach. Tomorrow never comes. But, oh yes, tomorrow does come all right, and when it comes it lasts a bloody long time, I can tell you. But if you¹ve put your past on celluloid, it keeps. You¹ve stored it away, like jam, for winter. That kid came up and asked us for our autographs. It made out day.¹

It is rumoured that Carter wrote Wise Children after having just been diagnosed with cancer and there is a real sense that its all about living life to the full ­ the closes with a line that recurrs all the way throughout the novel ³What a joy it is to sing and dance².

Stephen Long


“The curtain went back to revel Scott lying on the floor in a light blue 2-piece suit with a microphone held above his face. He launched into “the sun ain’t gonna shine anymore” and there was pandemonium”. 

“However, Scott’s familiarity with the work of Jean Genet, the maverick French play write and novelist suggests a keen interest in gay culture long before the subject became fashionable. The reason Scott found Genet – a barely educated orphan, petty thief, sometime male whore and irredeemable vagabond so compelling probably had less to do with the French man’s sexuality and more to do with his resolutely 2-fingered stance against a world which ultimately destroyed his ability to write by reducing him to the level of society pet.
Sartre excitedly hailed Genet as living proof of existentialist hero – in other words, he choose to be a thief, he choose to be homosexual and he choose to be penniless and adrift. When Edmund White, in his definitive 1993 biography of Genet chronicles the writer’s terrible sense of disenfranchisement, his tendency to teeter on the edge of life and his wish to sink unseen, into the anonymous ground he could almost be writing about Scott. 
Genet, who found hard to retain the freedom to observe from the outside described himself as “a fragment broken from the rest of the world””.
Cornelius Brady

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