Mar 31, 2011


"Give a camera a good, steady look at almost any exterior in less-than-perfect weather with nobody about, put something poignant (preferably a solo wind instrument) on the soundtrack, ad the odds are that what you have in the can is a lyrical comment on the bleakness and aridity of human existence. A stretch of damp beach, a block of flats at dawn, a garden in drizzle, a deserted square with yesterday's papers blowing about — it doesn't matter what the setting is as long as it is more or less depopulated. One or two people may be present (two is the maximum, and one of them had beter be a girl who looks plangent in close-up), in which case the comment stands a fair chance of becoming poetic" — Kenneth Tynan, reviewing Jean-Luc Godard's Les Carabiniers (Tynan Right & Left, Athenuem, 1967)
I often have a similar thought when taking in my fellow passengers at airports, all of whom seem to wear a look of uniform, uncomplaining drudgery, so richly suggestive of their poor, blank prolish lives, escape from which has landed them only as far as the overlit, muzak-filled prefab in which they now sit, slumped, contemplating the microwave chicken that awaits them upon their return. I sometimes try and look at them and think "that guy just found out he's a grandfather," or "she's thinking about her new boyfriend" and for a second, that glum expression seems to cordon off an internal firework display of joy so unbounded that expressionalness seems the only safe option, for fear they might otherwise burst with happiness. But it doesn't last long. Soon, they go back to looking like they have a microwave chicken waiting for them when they get home.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it could be a microwave turd. Always look on the bright side, etc, blah, blah...