Archive for Page 17

Pg. 17, #9

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2020 by dcairns

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Towards midnight — it would have been in the autumn in the year 1860 — there was a sudden violent hammering on the door, which echoed through the whole hall. Baptiste, who acted as cook, footman and doorman in Madeleine’s small household, had gone to the country for his sister’s wedding, and so it happened that only Madeleine’s maid, Martinière, was in the house and still awake.

*

At this point, a visitor named Isaac Post decided to try communicating with the spirit. His first question brought a barrage of raps, as if it was relieved that somebody had finally decided to behave sensibly. Soon afterwards, there followed a message that stated: ‘Dear friends, you must proclaim this truth to the world. This is the dawning of a new era; you must not try to conceal it any longer. God will protect you and good spirits will watch over you.’ After this, the communications continued, but they ceased to be violent. Tables moved, guitars were played by unseen fingers, which also touched people lightly, and objects were transported around the room.

*

I made him sit out that encore and wouldn’t let him talk till they got through playing it. Then they played something else and I was all right again and Frank told me about meeting Jack Barrymore. Imagine meeting him. I couldn’t live.

*

“It is he–it is he! I have seen him myself,” was his only comment; and to all questionings but one reply was vouchsafed: “Deux fois je l’ai vu; mille fois je l’ai senti.” He would tell them nothing of the provenance of the book, nor any details of his experiences. “I shall soon sleep, and my rest shall be sweet. Why should you trouble me?” he said.

*

There was no answer. For a long while, there was no answer, and then I pushed the button again, and then there was no answer some more.

*

With sudden courage she said, “I’m trying to get in touch with someone who lives in this building and I can’t find the name outside.”

*

The hunting peoples of the Paleolithic Ice Age, like their nomadic descendants in Siberia and North America, shared their world not only with the animal creation but also with a vast population of spirits.

*

Seven more bits of page seventeens. Use them as a screenplay you can film in your head.

Tales of Hoffmann, by ETA Hoffmann, from the story Mademoiselle de Scudery; The Psychic Detectives, by Colin Wilson; The Best of Ring Lardner, from the story I Can’t Breathe; Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James, from the story Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook; The Fugitive Pigeon, by Donald E. Westlake; The Lottery: Adventures of the Daemon Lover by Shirley Jackson, from the story The Daemon Lover; Altered States: Creativity Under the Influence, by James Hughes.

Pg. 17, #2

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2020 by dcairns

“You would scarcely expect me, constable,” I said coldly, “to absent myself from the farewell supper of a childhood friend who is leaving for Hollywood in a day or two and may be away from civilisation for years. Catsmeat would have been pained to his foundations if I had oiled out. And it wasn’t three in the morning, it was two-thirty.”

*

At close range, Colonel Margrave’s breath was a solid essence of whisky, but Branch didn’t reprimand him. If you had a good officer left, you didn’t reprimand him, no matter what he did. Also, Branch approved of whisky. It was a good release, under the circumstances. Probably better than his own, he thought, glancing at his scarred knuckles.

*

He got into a taxi and gave the address, and the driver was so slow starting the meter that the man repeated the address. The driver nodded, showing half his face. The man looked at the face and at the driver’s picture. They didn’t look much alike, but they never did. He supposed this was a reputable taxi company that operated the taxicabs at the station. Oh well, that wasn’t important.

*

The director’s record in this respect may well have attracted Columbia to the project of Anatomy of a Murder, since it was the only studio never to register with the PCA, Preminger, moreover, had a reputation for bringing in films under budget.

*

In this manner they marched for at least two hours, when at last the sacristan found himself on the borders of Blackheath. One of his lady companions then said to him, ‘We are going to a very pleasant party tonight a little way farther on. I wish you would accompany us; I am sure you would be well received, and you would have an opportunity of immensely improving the minds of the company.’

*

He took the receipt from the man holding it, translated it aloud for my benefit, word for word. It wasn’t one of those shorthand things you get up North. It was written out in great detail; it was a young book. It was in flowery Spanish. When I’d seen him composing it back there where I’d bought it, I’d thought that was the custom down there, to write out a complete description of each purchase, practically give its life history.

*

But today, there were no obsequies to observe at all.

*

Seven page seventeens from seven different volumes selected from around my bed.

The selections this week are from Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, by P.G. Wodehouse; The Metal Smile, a sci-fi anthology edited by Damon Knight, the story is Fool’s Mate by Robert Sheckley; Butterfield 8, by John O’Hara; The Cinema Book, edited by Pam Cook; The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, edited by A.S. Byatt, the story is The Sacristan of St Botolph by William Gilbert (father of the one from Gilbert & Sullivan); The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich; Valmouth, by Ronald Firbank.

They cohere nicely, I think. A bit of a booze theme, even though the passage from O’Hara’s very boozy book doesn’t mention the stuff.

Pg. 17

Posted in FILM, literature, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2020 by dcairns

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“Lance, there’s nothing so pleasing to most tastes as a good mouthful of molasses. But not too thick. You hate this setup enough to make the story sing. And tears and ink will make any story jump.” Carl placed a paternal arm about his charge. “What do you say, boy? Give Papa some nice molasses — a couple columns of it.”

*

It would be unfair to compare Cocteau with the monolithic classical writers of the twentieth century; for them writing was a profession, while Cocteau wanted only to be himself and say what he felt. He showed childish delight when he was elected to the Academie Francaise but it would be more appropriate to see him as an academy of one.

*

Next day, now look, the picture shows

How lank and lean Augustus grows!

Yet, though he feels so week and ill,

The naughty fellow cries out still —

“Nor any soup, for me I say:

O take the nasty soup away;

I won’t have any soup to-day.”

*

Meanwhile, the disease thus wonderfully generated betrayed more terrible symptoms. Fever and delirium terminated in lethargic slumber, which in the course of two hours, gave place to death. Yet not till insupportable exhalations and crawling putrefaction had driven from his chamber and the house every one whom their duty did not detain.

*

Dick Watchett liked Mr. Rabb, as did all juniors who came in contact with him. The midshipmen adored him. And indeed he was a likeable person, with his crisp hearty voice, his clean mind, and his courteous manner with the young or the poor — the best type of Englishman.

*

With a suitcase full of clothes and underwear in my hand and an indomitable will in my heart, I set out for Vienna. I too hoped to wrest from fate what my father had accomplished fifty years before; I too hoped to become “something” — but in no case a civil servant.

*

Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) such as these are recognised in humans and are also found in the domesticated species where, according to some sources, cats are more heavily represented than dogs. In the treatment of such cases behaviourists follow the developments in the human field where the environmental and managemental stress factors, which are contributing to the condition, are removed as far as possible. Medical treatment is also available and its effectiveness seems to be influenced by the presence of conflicts as well as by the time during which the OCD has been apparent. As yet knowledge about the causes and successful treatment of these cases is limited, and so the pooling of expertise within an organisation such as the APBC is invaluable.

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*

Me again. I thought that, if I selected seven paragraphs of moderate size from the page sevens of a more or less random selection of books, the passages would begin to talk to one another and perhaps even form a narrative. I was right! I didn’t expect it to be so grimly topical, though.

The extracts come from The Dark Page, by Samuel Fuller; Cocteau’s World, by Jean Cocteau, introduced by Margaret Crosland; Struwwelpeter, by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann; Wieland, by Charles Brockden Brown; In Hazard, by Richard Hughes; The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer (the narrator of this section is Hitler); and finally Why Does My Cat…? by Sarah Heath.

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