Archive for the ‘john buchan’ Tag

Coincidences No. 405-409

Clairefontaine logo French stationery

“The world is a raging torrent of coincidence, flooded with rivulets of serendipity, cascading into a waterfall of creative connections.” Hedley Lamarr

18/7/17

I receive a proposal for a documentary from a new UK indie. It is about an event that happened in 2013 in Africa. I wrote back to the indie saying:

  • although one of the two protagonists shares my surname and lives in the same suburb of London we are not related…
  • …but the other protagonist (best friend of the first) I have known since she was a child and I was in partnership with her father and mother when I set up a dot com business in 2000
  • meanwhile, his business partner in the new indie is the father of my son’s oldest friend and they’ve been going to the local school together for years.

19/7/17

I’m working at Little Dot’s offices in Shoreditch and pop out for lunch. I walk over to Rivington Street where I worked at a new digital start-up, Forma, a bit before starting up that dot com business, so in the late 90s. I duck into a yard to sit and read my book, ‘Sick Heart River’ by John Buchan. The adventure starts in a town at the edge of the Canadian wilderness called Clairefontaine.

I get back to the desk where I’m working (I like moving around so usually work at the desk of someone who’s away shooting or something) and on top of the pile of hard drives at the edge of the desk is a packet of index cards I hadn’t noticed earlier. The brand on the packet is Clairefontaine.

Mission BX 415 bande dessinee comic book cover

It’s a numbers game

4/6/17

I check into Jury’s Hotel in Sheffield for Doc Campus where I am working with director Leslie Lee on her feature documentary ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ (w/t). I get allocated Room 415.

I move hotels at the end of the week when Sheffield DocFest starts to the Metropolitan Hotel on the other side of the city. I get allocated Room 415.

26/5/17

Our new book group book gets chosen by Martin Bright who circulates the title. It is ‘Men Without Women’ by Haruki Murakami.

A few days earlier I am walking through Bloomsbury with a production manager/old friend when Hemingway’s book of short stories ‘Men Without Women’ comes up in conversation and I draw the title to her attention. It is not a book I have read or am even familiar with.

25/6/17

Someone I know has a health issue and a documentary director friend of mine kindly refers me on to a family friend who has experience of the problem. The father of the family it turns out is a prominent film/drama director.

That evening I go over to watch a box set with the person with the health issue, one they have singled out from reputation. The director of that particular episode (of 10) is that same prominent film/drama director (the only ep he directed of the series).

The 4 best things to come out of Scotland

While I’m still under the influence of the Macallan’s I thought it best to capture the best of Scotland – I was daydreaming for just a moment at the Burns Night gathering we’ve just been to at Cha Cha Cha in the shadowy alleyways of Muswell Hill, transfixed by a pile of Tunnock’s tea cakes, wondering what else as magnificent as a Tunnock’s Caramel has emerged from north of the border…

1. Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer

tunnocks_caramel_wafer_coasters_gillian_kyle_5

5 layers of wafer, 4 layers of caramel, fully coated in real milk chocolate. The dog’s cahones.

2. Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Waterboys-Mike-S_2005213b

5 layers of Yeats, 4 layers of Dylan, fully coated in real wild Ireland.

3. John Buchan’s stories

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My favourite copy

5 layers of outdoors, 4 layers of clubland, fully coated in real imperial conservatism.

4. Bobby Wellins’ sax on Starless & Bible Black

Dreams-Are-FreeW

5 layers of melancholy, 4 layers of beauty, fully coated in real jazz delicacy.

 

 

 

Or perhaps you know better…?

Boredom Boredom B’dum B’dum

spiral scratch buzzcocks record

Today is Record Shop Day. I’ve been frequenting mine (Alan’s in East Finchley) plenty recently so I’m just making an internal nod to indy record shops and I’ve just played a classic record Spiral Scratch by (the) Buzzcocks (albeit not on vinyl, I’m in the wrong room) – the track I played is Boredom because I’ve been thinking about it a lot yesterday and today.

I’m living in this movie
But it doesn’t move me
I’m the man that’s waiting for the phone to ring
Hear it ring-a-ding-a-fucking-ding

You know me, I’m acting dumb
You know the scene, very humdrum
Boredom, boredom, boredom

Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe

Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe

I was just out jogging, listening to a podcast with Irish writer John Banville talking about Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe. Banville, under his low-brow pen-name Benjamin Black (which I don’t much like – as fake as they come, a bit like Julian Barnes’ Dan Kavanagh), recently wrote a Marlowe book at the request of Chandler’s estate, The Black-Eyed Blonde. Marlowe stories usually start with the gumshoe sitting bored in his down-at-heel office waiting for something to happen, usually a dame walking through the door to give him a knight-errant mission.

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe

Robert Donat as Richard Hannay

Robert Donat as Richard Hannay

Then late last night I was listening to a radio programme from BBC Radio 4 called The Buchan Tradition about John Buchan, marking the centenary year of The 39 Steps. Richard Hannay is bored in London at the start of that ripping yarn when lo and behold a spy dies on his living room carpet and the adventure begins.

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

That’s also often the case with Sherlock Holmes – he’s bored out of his brain, coked off his face, ennui has well and truly set in when a character shows up at 221b with a juicy mystery to solve.

Michael York and Simon Maccorkindale as Carruthers and Davies

Michael York and Simon Maccorkindale as Carruthers and Davies

One of my favourites, a resident of The Shelf of Honour, The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers, opens with the protagonist bored in the “dead and fermenting city”, London in the dog-days of late summer. When the opportunity crops up to sail around the Baltic and North Sea coasts, in spitting distance of imperial Germany, with an English eccentric in an Aran jumper, it’s the perfect cure not just to boredom, but also to the complacency and materialism of modern life. One of my favourite scenes is when Carruthers, the narrator, can’t fit his trunk through the opening into the Dulcibella, the boat he is due to go off for a trip in and he has to dump most of his stuff (which he never really needed).

Martin Sheen as Captain Willard

Martin Sheen as Captain Willard

Recently I watched again one of my all-time favourite movies, Apocalypse Now, with Enfant Terrible No. 1 (a convert to The Godfather movies). Damn it’s good. Great. Nearly perfect. It opens with Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) bored to near-death in a hotel room in Saigon. Waiting for a mission.

Saigon…shit. I’m only in Saigon.
Every time, I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle.

I’m here a week now.  Waiting for a mission.  Getting softer.  Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker.  And every minute Charlie squats in the bush…he gets stronger.  Each time I looked around…the walls moved in a little tighter.

Bored to death

Bored to death

There’s boredom as debilitating ennui as in Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. But there’s also boredom as a motivator, a prompt into adventure. The question is whether in real life the blonde walks through the door or the spy expires on your carpet? Does the ring-a-ding-a-fucking-ding really come?

Lauren-Bacalls-style-The-Big-Sleep Bogart office Marlowe

bogart film noir phone maltese falcon

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