2001: a space odyssey

tonight i watched 2001: a space odyssey for the first time since i was 8 or 9 years old. i’ve always remembered the film fondly, knowing the impact it has had on me in all sorts of ways. it is the first non-cartoon film i remember clearly. while watching it tonight i could anticipate the scenes coming up, the small details, kubrick’s beauty having burnt itself into my head. the way these things can affect us is astounding.

i don’t recall the ligeti pieces in the score specifically, though i recall my young ears being amazed at the sound of the film. at the time ligeti was not any kind of ‘music’ as i recognized it, but rather incredible and haunting soundscape.

this evening brought me back to a heady few hours of my youth – bringing back the first time i remember feeling completely cooked by cinema.

a few other important film experiences were when i saw a clockwork orange in grade 10, and the shining around the same time, or perhaps a year earlier. i didn’t realize until some time later that these all came from the same director. this explains why i have such reverence for kubrick.

there are few things i value more than personal landmark experiences in film and music. looking back at some of my other favourite filmmakers (tarkovsky!), i can see how my tastes were formed. thanks, stanley.

calgary. climbing. experience.

so i didn’t go to calgary. or anywhere else. thankfully.

not so long ago i made a trip out to g.e. polymershapes in vancouver. it is the lollypop land of plastics. i now want to grab every piece of plastic i can find and paint it. the rubbermaid shudders in the cupboard as we speak.

after much family visiting i’ve succeeded in doing almost no reading. still working through martin amis’ experience. i’m still entertained and intrigued 207 pages into it, so it must be alright. there are some little rambling bits which lose me, but i chalk that up to the walkmen, chatterbugs, cellphones, and altogether buzzing atmosphere of the city bus.

my current lust is rock climbing in squamish. indescribable, thus far.

eastside

looks as though i may be heading back to calgary sooner than later. at least it will be warmer, although i was told it snowed almost a foot there a few days ago (freakish, i was assured).

in the meantime i scurry through the streets of vancouver, spending far too much time watching people shoot up. the other day my co-worker almost lost his lunch watching a guy shoot up into an open wound on his hand. it’s amazing that if you spend long enough down there the extreme becomes the ordinary. disease and infection nothing more than pedestrian affairs.

everyone has a theory on how to fix it (most involving some kind of mass murder), but no one really considers the root, the social causality. everyone is in the downtown eastside for a reason. the overarching social problem is comprised of these thousands of “reasons”.

i want to document this, observe it, work on it. but how? even after only a year of being down there i’m getting jaded and cynical about the whole mess. the shocking become routine, my empathy turned to disgust.

all i have is words, but they feel useless after i have written them. who gives a fuck what some middle class shit has to say? i’m nothing more than a privileged voyeur.

calgary. anarchy. amis.

recently spent a week in calgary for work purposes. i hadn’t been there in probably 12 years. there’s no need for me to be snarky and comment how i don’t plan on going back, but for christ’s sake could you people provide at least ONE vegetarian dish?

i have to admit that the people in calgary are incredibly friendly. case in point: my co-worker is lifting a dolly of grouting equipment over a parking barrier. a kindly calgarian, dressed in a suit and tie, give him a hand. you do not see this kind of behaviour in vancouver. in vancouver the suit would have knocked my co-worker over and urinated on him. in conclusion, calgarians are very friendly folk. i like them. if we could transplant some of that down to earth humanity to vancouver i’d be plucky.

now that i’m back to the more reasonable coastal climate, i’ve returned to reading at a decent pace. here are the latest:

douglas fetherling’s bio on george woodcock “The Gengle Anarchist” is a worthy primer on the legendary writer and activist. the book is short, but that is as it should be. it introduces us to the incredible and well-travelled life of woodcock. fetherling’s personal relationship with the subject enhances this bio (although i’m not entirely sure what i think of his insanely literate weekly column for the vancouver sun), and i can do nothing but recommend it beyond measure.

another recent read is martin amis’ “night train”, which, unfortunately, was not so great. i can understand why writers branch out and try new things, but why a brilliant british turner-of-the-phrase would try is hand at the yank hard-boiled detective novel is beyond me. sure, there is some good play on the genre, i’ll give him that. and the phrases are of course well tuned. but it just didn’t do it for me. i’m cranking through his “experience”, which is proving far superior. update to follow.