Archive for Patrick Hamilton

Pg. 17, #17

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2020 by dcairns

Going to the cinema as if it were a lover’s date or a dangerous adventure inside a Stagecoach driven by a hero whom we follow blindly through every metamorphosis.

*

How could a guy enjoy dirty movies with females present? We knew there had to be a catch. There was. This wasn’t an American movie. It was French. That’s why it cost so much. A whole dollar. More than Tempest Storm. Our doubts grew stronger when one of my companions perceptively noted, ‘It says subtitles.’ He made the observation as if he’d discovered a dubious clause in the small print of a contract. ‘That means they put all the talking in words at the bottom of the screen.’

*

A silent film without music — he could have found no better way of describing the weird world in which he now moved. He looked at passing objects and people, but they had no colour, vivacity, meaning — he was mentally deaf to them. They moved like automatons, without volition of their own. He could hear what they said, he could understand their words, he could answer them, even; but he did this automatically, without having to think of what they had said or of what he was saying in return. Therefore, when they spoke it was as though they had not spoken, as though they had moved their lips but remained silent. They had no valid existence; they were not creatures experiencing pleasure or pain. There was, in fact, no sensation, no pleasure or pain at all in this world; there was only himself — his dreary, numbed, dead self.

*

What did he want with the beasts? Why, too, had he pretended they were not his when I had remarked about them at first? Then again, in his personal attendant there was a bizarre quality that impressed me profoundly. These circumstances threw a haze of mystery around the man. They laid hold of my imagination and hampered my tongue.

*

He brought back a male orangutan named Tarzan to serve as the sperm donor. He also revised his plan, deciding to seek out female volunteers. Remarkably, he got a few. One woman cheerily wrote to him that she was willing to surrender her body to science because, “I don’t see any sense in my further existence.” Once again, though, fortune did not favor Ivanov. Tarzan died of a brain hemorrhage in 1929 before the experiment could start, leaving Ivanov apeless. The next year Ivanov was swept up in one of Stalin’s political purges and shipped off to a prison camp. He was released two years later, but died soon thereafter. This, as far as we know, brought an end to his research programme.

*

Soon psychopathology replaced ethnicity as the critical demographic determinant. There were no longer Italian neighborhoods, or Cuban neighborhoods, or Irish of Greek neighborhoods. There were Anorexic neighborhoods, and Narcissistic neighborhoods, and Manic and Compulsive neighborhoods. There was no longer a Columbus Day parade or a Puerto Rico Day parade; there was an Agoraphobics Day parade. Fifth Avenue lined with police barricades, traffic diverted. But, of course, the designated route was empty, utterly desolate, because the paraders, the spectators, even the Grand Marshall himself — agoraphobics each and every one — had all stayed away, each locked within the “safety” of his or her own home.

*

One reason for psychoanalyzing Hitler was to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Stanley Lovell seized upon one of Langer’s ideas — that Hitler might have feminine tendencies — and got permission from the OSS hierarchy to see whether he could push the Führer over the gender line. “The hope was that his moustache would fall off and his voice become soprano,” Lovell wrote. Lovell used OSS’s network to try to slip female sex hormones into Hitler’s food, but nothing apparently came of it. Nor was there ever any payoff to other Lovell schemes to blind Hitler permanently with mustard gas or to use a drug to exacerbate his suspected epilepsy. They main problem in these operations — all of which were tried — was to get Hitler to take the medicine. Failure of the delivery schemes also kept Hitler alive — OSS was simultaneously trying to poison him.

*

The final seven passages from seven page seventeens in seven books, reached down from quite high on my shelving.

Bertolucci by Bertolucci, by Donald Ranvaud & Enzo Ungari (whose authorship kinda makes a liar of their title); Flicker, by Theodore Roszak; Hangover Square, by Patrick Hamilton; The Island of Dr. Moreau, by H.G. Wells; Elephants on Acid and other Bizarre Experiments, by Alex Boese;  My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, by Mark Leyner; The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control, by John Marks.

Pg. 17, #16

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2020 by dcairns

It was, I suppose, a kind of motor-car, but unlike anything I had ever seen before, and nearing no more resemblance to a modern machine than a ‘bone-shaker’ of twenty years ago to a modern ‘free-wheel.’ It appeared to be built of iron, and was painted a dead black. In the fore-part of the structure a fore-wheel spun round at a terrible speed, and various bars and beams moved rapidly backwards and forwards. The chimney was quite ten ft. in height, and poured out a dense volume of smoke. On a small platform behind, railed in by a stout iron rail, stood a small man with his back to us. His dark hair, which must have reached nearly to his shoulders, streamed behind him in the wind. In each hand he grasped a huge lever, and he was apparently gazing steadily into the darkness before him, though it seemed to me that he might just as well have shut his eyes, for the machine had no lamps, and the only light in the whole concern streamed out from the half-open furnace door.

*

After a ride up the mountain, Halifax narrowly avoided an early disaster as he was getting out of his car. Hitler was decked out in local costume, which included “black trousers, white silk socks, and pumps.” Halifax assumed he was a footman, and was about to hand him his hat and coat when Neurath, the German foreign minister, whispered hoarsely “Der Führer! Der Führer!” Halifax barely avoided mistaking the dictator of one of the world’s most powerful military powers for a servant in livery.

*

‘My idea about the lecture, resumed the Duchess hurriedly, ‘is to inquire whether promiscuous Continental travel doesn’t tend to weaken the moral fibre of the social conscience. There are people one knows, quite nice people when they are in England, who are so different when they are anywhere the other side of the Channel.’

*

“If it’s only a case of multiple personality I must really cry off,” interrupted the doctor again hastily, a bored expression in his eyes.

*

From the earliest literature, it is evident that the notion of spontaneous human combustion emanated from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century popular belief that the drinking of strong spirits might light a spontaneous flame in the stomach. Since this belief had its origin in Scandinavia, it was no coincidence that the Dane Thomas Bartholin was the first scientist to assimilate it into seventeenth-century medicine. The idea of aquavit drinkers bursting into spontaneous flames this preluded the first mentioning of the phenomenon we can call increased combustibility by more than 100 years; the first of these odd postmortem reports of bodies found extensively destroyed by fire without major damage to the surroundings was published in 1673. Many others have followed, and at least 120 well-attested cases of this phenomenon exist on record. There has been no satisfactory instance of any individually combusting spontaneously, and in the greater part of the cases an external source of fire is apparent.

*

‘Look,’ the President said. Sputtering fires and swirling ropes cast their lights and shadows through the window and into the room. ‘It’s all like that, everywhere. We can’t put it out, but if we could learn what let you walk through it out of Europe…’

*

Mr. Thwaites had since 1939 slowly learned to swallow the disgrace of Hitler, of whom he had been from the beginning, and still secretly remained, a hot disciple. He could now even force himself to speak disparagingly of Hitler; but to speak well of the Russians was too much for him. He could not mention them save gloweringly, defensively, almost savagely. He had also undergone the misfortune of capturing Moscow and Leningrad within three weeks of the outbreak of the war, and so his boarding-house sagacity had been struck at along with his personal feelings.

*

Seven passages from seven pages seventeens from seven more-or-less random books from various shelves hereabout. The first Hitler story is, apparently, true.

Lord Boden’s Motor, by J.R. Harris-Burland, from the collection Strange Tales from the Strand Magazine; The Oster Conspiracy of 1938, by Jerry Parssinen; Reginald at the Carlton, by Hector Hugh Munro, from The Complete Stories of Saki, from A Psychical Invasion, by Algernon Blackwood, from the collection The Dance of Death and other Stories; A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities, by Jan Bondeson; The Price, by Algis Budrys, from The War Book (Panther Science Fiction), edited by James Sallis; The Slaves of Solitude, by Patrick Hamilton.

Basely loosed on a story by…

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC, Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2017 by dcairns

                     

  1. It’s quite possible that I’ll be doing these long after you’ve stopped being interested.
  2. There is a school of thought that says this has already happened.

Oh, hey, two weeks until supposed blogathon! I better announce it. Think about taking part, you guys.