Archive for Cambridge cannibalism

Eat the poor

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2008 by dcairns

Victoria Vetri/Angela Dorian/whatever she’s calling herself this week enjoys the black meat of the giant aquatic Brazilian centipede.

One of the nice things about READING WHEN YOU’RE TIRED, which nobody ever talks about, is when you misread something in a completely insane way and it throws you for a loop. This doesn’t happen when you’re alert because the context-checker in your brain pre-emptively stops you making lunatic inferences (or mine does, and even in dyslexia this part of the reading process seems fairly dependable, and actually can allow the dyslexic reader to struggle through).

The beauty of the demented misreading is that it is ALWAYS an improvement on the original piece, at least insofar as being more SURPRISING. See Samuel Fuller for a typically vigorous defence of the value of surprise: “I start to read a BOOK! I form an OPINION, based on the FIRST PAGE, of where the book is GOING! I turn the PAGE! It’s going SOMEWHERE ELSE ENTIRELY! I LOVE THAT!!!” 

So, Saturday’s Guardian Review offers a nice profile of author J.G. Ballard (obligatory movie connection — you might say CRASH, or EMPIRE OF THE SUN [Spielberg does Lean — underrated? Discuss]. I prefer to point to WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH). It’s very enjoyable, and then he says, regarding his days studying at Cambridge ~

“Things have changed now. But I remember thinking: there must be more to England than this! There’s something wrong. I never met a working-class person unless they were put on a plate in front of me -”

I boggled. My God, he really is a cannibal! And what’s more, cannibalism at Cambridge in the post-war years was actually practiced openly! They left that bit out of Brideshead Revisited.

Hang on. Backtrack ~

“I never met a working-class person unless they were putting a plate on a table in front of me.”

Reality, as Ballard well knows, can be rather disappointing.