We all do things. Different things. And we all think about them differently. To some of us they are work, to some of us they are play. Some of us do great things, some of us do less than great things and some of us do crap things (and we usually know it). Some of the things some of us do are played out for all to see and many of us think very highly of many of these things. Often the people doing these things are very happy and don’t actually think that the things they are doing is actually anything but their life (life’s work?) and their calling. They know it is bloody hard work but they don’t necessarily think of it as a job or going to work.
Their whole identity pretty much goes into their work. For example, outside of work they might read books or write essays but when at work they will read the very same books and write the very same essays. In this way the jobs become us, we envelop them until only ourselves are left, strong, resilient and brilliant. For someone else to do our work would require so much resource, so much complexity, so much analysis of everything that collectively makes up what we do and who we are that replacement is nigh on impossible. For now we are future proofed.
Those of us whose whole lives do not go into our jobs have a different story to tell.
//somewhere in england
I have just read Zona by Geoff Dyer.
When I first saw Tarkovsky’s Stalker I realised it was the film I had spent my whole life waiting to see. There were scenes and images in it that I’d been longing to see on the screen. They immediately connected to experiences that I was unaware needed connecting to. When I eventually read Zona I again realised that it was a book I’d been waiting to read since seeing the film. Never has a book about a film about a place about a filmmaker been so dynamic and where there is noise in the book there is also silence. Tarkovsky doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
Here follows a few favourite slices (in reverse order)
“Tarkovsky thought the wife’s expression of love and devotion was the ‘final miracle’, the heart of the film, its ultimate lesson: ‘namely that human love alone is – miraculously – proof against the blunt assertion that there is no hope for the world. This is our common, and incontrovertibly positive possession.”
“They’re worn out, by the journey, by the scuffle, by the combination of disappointment and enlightenment, by the uncertain distinctions between faith, hope and belief, by the complex simplicity of whatever it is they have learned or not learned, by not knowing whether the lessons of evolution – of learning as you go – are ever going to be over with.”
(From Don DeLillo’s White Noise) “The point of rooms is that they’re inside. No one should go into a room unless he understands this. People behave one way in rooms, another way in streets, parks and airports. To enter a room is to agree to a certain kind of behaviour. It follows that this would be the kind of behaviour that takes place in rooms.”
“If you have a considerable instinct for reverence and if you don’t have an aversion to being revered, then it makes perfect sense to start revering yourself.”
“A true writer, as defined by Thomas Mann, is someone who finds writing more difficult than other people.”
(Tilda Swinton) “I saw Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and there’s a scene of that image – of a bird flying through a room of sand. And I’d been having that dream my whole life, or probably since before I was ten. I’ve stopped having it since that film, but it really blew my mind that someone else would have exactly the same image somehow and put it in a film. That really informed my relationship with cinema: the idea that it is what’s unconscious.”
“Wim Wenders thinks that with Stalker Tarkovsky took cinema into ‘utterly new terrain’ where ‘every step could be your last’. Everyone – audience, filmmaker, actors, even the medium itself – is in ‘extreme danger at every step’.”
“Here is the time of the sayable, here its home
Speak and avow. More than ever
the things that might be experienced are falling
what outs and replaces them is an imageless act” (Rilke)
The gentle reading of the last few pages of the book were as if coming into land sat atop a glider which served as a splendid tangent to watching the film Silence. Sat in front of its projected glow was truly a break, as if my day had leant down and pulled out a space in time for me to fall in to. It is a film that rests comfortably between a ‘film’ and a ‘documentary’ with a gentle, soft and quiet approach to the relationship between time, people, places and memory – and the capturing of places, the being in places. A film like this can only feature most people appearing as themselves and the concentration on sound and place and hearing almost makes time slow. These experiences and subjects in film only serve to accentuate that it is a film and you are watching it and that you must take from it and that the experiences are accessible. At the end I too felt like I was climbing the stairs of my childhood and when it ended I was left standing where I used to sleep.
If you like cinema, listening, places and memory you might enjoy it.
Great cinema must be projected. It is the difference (as John Berger put it) between watching the sky and peering into a cupboard.
//somewhere in england
Don’t trade cheap mentions of efforts and invention that you don’t really mean and barely understand. Don’t bullshit yourself. Kill the acronyms. Kill the labels. Keep your loose mouth and stumbling design walk in check. Try harder, think harder, hope harder, type harder.
Pitching and pinching and pouting the same thing over and over. To hell with excitement, long dark days and oppression. Show me something worthwhile. Nobody will remember steaming bullshit in a matter of months. There are no sunsets or horizons. We want hope, change and help. We want to make a difference. Do you want to be remembered for doing something you hate?
“That point when you don’t want to be caught between what you are doing, what you are producing and yourself. You don’t want to be in the way. You don’t want to get in the way. You don’t want to contaminate it. You want the work to be great, not you to be great.
You don’t want it to have a reflection. You don’t want to have a reflection. You want it to just be about the work. About making a difference. About helping.”
//somewhere in england