Nuances With Wolves

“I really think I have killed someone”.

The thought had come to the forefront of her mind whilst she was putting her bags of food shopping in the boot of the car. It was a sunny afternoon but there had been heavy rain all morning. The previous thought had been something along the lines of “why don’t we see those nice rainbow shine-patches of petrol and water on the ground these days?”

Back home she paused in front of the hall mirror and spoke the thought out loud, this time adding a question: “…I’m convinced that I have killed someone, but…have I really?”

She knew that the vast majority of murders are committed by people who know the victim, usually rather well. Killings take place within families, between lovers, within groups of people bound together by a common purpose (usually the making of money).

That evening she spent several hours going through her address book, her email contacts, her Christmas card list, her Facebook friends. Every single person was fully accounted for. No-one was missing. Nobody she knew had met an untimely end.

Could it have been a stranger?

Very unlikely, she decided. She did not know any strangers.

Certainly not to that level of intimacy.

She had remembered to pick up a large pot of lemon sorbet at the supermarket. Her favourite. She carefully squeezed a fresh lime onto the impossibly white surface of the sorbet so as to spike up the taste.

She was getting used to the thought that had initially frightened her, like the unexpected caw of a restless crow at midnight. Whoever she might have killed had almost certainly asked for it…in fact he or she had probably been looking for a way out and, likely as not, had engineered the situation that led to the killing.

“People like that go into situations with a pre-set script. They think they are hard on themselves, but they are just looking for someone else to do their dirty work. They deserve all they get.”

There was a particular spoon that leant itself to the enjoyment of lemon sorbet. Shop-bought lemon sorbet, but enhanced with home-sqeezed lime juice. She smiled contentedly as she took the correct spoon from the cutlery drawer.

~               ~               ~               ~               ~               ~              ~

Advert alert!

Ted Eames poetry collection: Between Me and You (Cairn Time Press, August 2014) £6.00 (plus £1.50 p/p in the UK).

Please order from the author at 73 Pyms Road, Wem, Shropshire, SY4 5UU

Email: tedeames@btinternet.com

Or message via ‘comments’ on this blog.

For that unique gift! See photo below.

{{{Three copies or more for £5 each plus p/p}}}

I also have a recent poem in issue 4 of Bare Fiction magazine, link as below

http://www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk/buy/issues/bare-fiction-magazine-issue-4-november-2014/

~               ~               ~               ~               ~               ~              ~

My previous post (The Gutbucket List, 14th October) indicated that I had been unwell. The virus lingered, lungered, langered, lengered, longered, and, indeed, lyngered around a while but has now departed.

Including recovery time, I had a spell of nearly 4 weeks when the one activity that seemed acceptable to both body and brain was watching films. This was especially helpful through all the wee small hours when to lie down in bed just made every symptom worse.

I watched several excellent, obscure, subtitled films. Stand up Miklos Janscó! Oh no, he can’t because he is dead…but his early films are wondrous, and seem to have been a big influence on Bela Tarr, my humbly offered nominee for greatest living film director.

However, the majority of films that have passed through my fevered dvd tray have been Western movies.

I have reacquainted with certain classics, have filled in gaps in my knowledge and viewing, and have discovered Deadwood, the scabrous, politically astute, hilarious, riveting box-set buffer at the end of the line for the Western genre.

There is a lot more to say than is possible in this post, so for the time being here is a list of aspects that have floated to the surface so far.

  • You never have to watch a single John Wayne movie, except for The Searchers (flawed but essential) and maybe Stagecoach (for historical interest).
  • The best Westerns subvert, challenge and shred the values that were established during the supposed heyday of the genre (1903 to the mid-1960s). Some of those subversive, challenging and shredding Westerns were made (bravely) in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s as a kind of minority report.
  • The values and ideas embodied in mainstream Westerns, certainly up to the early 1960s, were undoubtedly pretty dreadful: racist, sexist, glorifying violence and the “manifest destiny” ideal of the colonisation of America. Even some of the better and later Westerns often display ambiguities in all these areas (which makes for even more fascinating viewing).
  • The narrative is usually simple, but the moral choices and entanglements are epic. The narrative often relies on set formulae. This can lead to repetitive strain injury on the brain, but it can also be seductively comforting.
  • The landscapes are nearly always stunningly beautiful, or starkly engaging at the very least.
  • The 1960s and 1970s were the true glory decades for the Western, with a parade of challenging, problematic, magnificent films that will stand with all the great works of World Cinema.
  • There was still plenty of room for crap, and for a sub-genre called the Spaghetti Western, which produced a small number of excellent films (headed by Once Upon a Time in the West) and a vast swathe of violently nihilistic rubbish.
  • The genre has been sufficiently flexible and adaptable to have produced occasional films that are genuine one-off curios, oddball movies which defy categorisation, or which throw up a Barbara Stanwyck or a Joan Crawford to stem the tide of sexist roles. Similarly with the revisionist films which gave a more intelligent perspective on the experience of the First Nations of America (the “Indians”).
  • Deadwood really does embody all the changes that took place within the Western genre during its ‘adult’ years: powerfully naturalistic settings; characters who do not look as if they have just stepped out of beauty salons or barber shops; the importance of violence in power relationships; the value of dark humour as opposed to the embarrassingly childish humour of many of the early Westerns; the inevitably dirty and venal nature of corporate capitalism; the absence in real life of heroes and heroines; the centrality of racism to the American project; and many other things, whilst also reasserting the importance of a good story well told.
  • Some random recommendations to add to the usual suspects: Ride in the Whirlwind (1966); Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (full version, 1973); High Noon (1952); Lone Star (1995); Blazing Saddles (1974); McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971); Lonely Are the Brave (1962); The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976); Unforgiven (1992); Johnny Guitar (1954); Hombre (1966); Heaven’s Gate (full version, 1980); Brokeback Mountain (2005); 3.10 to Yuma (1957); Hud (1962).
  • And: Meek’s Cutoff (2010) one of the best films of this century so far in any genre.

Ok, time to head off into the Sierra Blogre to continue the search for gold…errr, I mean redemption.

Am planning the next episode of Sami’s Aleutian Islands journey. But, as Al Swearengen said: “announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh”.

Ted x

BMY table

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Hiya!

    I love this post!

    Wh did you kill, or was it the killing of that virus with the Lemon Sorbie spoon?! And I loved the insight into the films, Deadwood sounds cool. And I am intrigued by Meek’s cutoff – I’d like to borrow both.

    Speak soon! xxx

    Best,

    Jack

    http://www.jackeames.com

    T: +44 (0) 208 938 3497 M: +44 (0) 7960 423 735

    20 – 22 Wenlock Road London N1 7GU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s