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Thursday, June 05, 2003  
A swift email conversation with Marcello Carlin over the past two days about Big Brother, The Prisoner, Becket, radioactive light, Endgame. I can't watch Big Brother because it's Endgame, these dead people in a house with no outside, and I was made to sit through a godawful version whilst an undergrad that lasted two hoursand then some and had no humour or pathos or point, even the moving-the-ladder was not funny (and seeing Chekhov years ago in Plymouth and the stuffed dead bird wobbled and they knew it was going to wobble and so we laughed at the seagull, we youngsters at the back, and all the grey-and-purple hairs turn to face us and scowl and I wanna say back "did you not see that that was funny? it was funny! a stuffed bird! wobbling! and some fake russian woman staring out the window and proclaiming 'the geese have left for Leningrad' and withnail refusing to play whatsisface makes it more funny! can you not see that the wobbling bird is deliberate? there are no accidents in performance, lady" only I didn't cos I'd been scowled at). But yes. Big Brother is Endgame. Marcello tells me that the penultimate episode of The Prisoner was inspired by Endgame, and that theatre companies often play the two together. And then last night I (it's noticable that the most common typo I make, and I make lots, is missing the 'i' key when I press shift to type the self-singular pronoun which is ironic, if it can be, because the self-singular pronoun I see as the thing which most fucks-up this country, the fact that it's in upper case; no other language priviliges the self over the other so much as we do) get home, and take the cottage pie from the oven (a dash of cayenne pepper at my bequest and mmmmmmmm), and what's on the television? The Simpsons, and what's more, perfectly, it's the Movementarians episode in which Homer gets the family inviegled into a strange cult, and which takes-off The Prisoner at one point when Marge escapes and is followed by a big balloon-ball-bubble-thing. You are watching Fox. "We are watching Fox."

And the thing is, the films and TV programmes that always disturb me most are the ones in which there's no outside world, in which the cast and crew and set are all there is, not magical realism like Fellini or Ang Lee where what's going on is obviously a film, but the stabs at bona fide realism where tey forget to make sure we know about a world outside. Those ae the films that always throw me off-balance. American Beauty (as well as it being a despicably hollow film pretending to be full-to-bursting) does this. Like when Neighbours sheds a character, a family memeber and the clan remains and she/he is never spoken of or to again except for one phonecall, interrupted, every two years, only Neighbours doesn't care about being real and so it's false realism and insularity do not disturb. The second half of Fight Club finds this territory. The Invaders. Solaris.

6/05/2003 03:47:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005