Friday, August 18, 2006

Synchronicities

Well, my good friend the cellist Bruno Guastalla, whose day job is to make and restore stringed instruments, has mended the alarming crack on my bass, which is now back to its old self. If I really wanted it seen to, he said, I could get someone to take the front and back off the instrument and really give it a going over. I'd get wonderful results but also end up about £2000 poorer! So I think I'll stick to the patch-up job when needed.

As a resolute humanist materialist I'm suspicious of any talk of 'hidden forces' beyond human ken; nonetheless Hamlet's comment to Horatio was clearly correct. Synchronicity has long fascinated me - there was a day in Oxford about three or four years ago where on three occasions I thought I saw somebody I knew but hadn't seen for some time (a different person each time), drew closer and realised that it wasn't them, only to turn a corner and really see the person in question. Recently ideas of dead twins seem to be in the air. I have just read Emmanuel Carrere's fascinating book I Am Alive And You Are Dead: A Journey Inside The Mind of Philip K. Dick. Dick had a sister who died in infancy, but what really struck me was the account of Mark Twain's childhood. Apparently, Twain's twin brother and he were so alike that they had different coloured ribbons tied to their arms to distinguish them. One day they were left alone in the bath. One of the twins drowned, and the ribbons also came off. Hence, Twain said, he did could not be sure that he was actually himself. It reminds me of an old Peanuts cartoon, where Linus, I think, observes "'Never been born'? Why, the theological implications alone are staggering!"

Anyway, this idea bubbling around in my brain, I get hold of Scott Walker's new album, about which I gushed in my last post, and discover that track three is, partly, about Elvis's twin brother, Jesse, who was stillborn but to whom Elvis would apparently talk to 'in times of loneliness or despair'. If I were Iain Sinclair I would get the germ of a novel from these ideas; as it is I'll just put a couple of desultory comments in my blog!

Speaking of Philip K Dick, I think I will have to go and see the film of A Scanner Darkly next week. I am somewhat optimistic, though I have a fear (based on the previous examples) that Dick's work is analogous to that of someone like Alan Moore - that somehow the very elements of their work that seem to make them cry out for film adaptation are in fact so integrated into the form in which the work was originally conceived that these same elements undermine any attempt at adaptation. The blowing up of the houses of parliament to the tune of the 1812 Overture in V for Vendetta is a case in point. It resonates on the page but on screen just seems bombastic and crass. Still, perhaps this film will be the exception . . .

1 comment:

joel cooper said...

Hi Dom,
Will link to your blog as soon as I get a moment.
Also let me know what you think of the film, I watched the trailer and visited the website, but I can't decide if the visual paint effect they've decide to use is interesting or if it will wear thin after about ten seconds.
well hope you're ok. keep blogging, it so easy isn't?
joel