Patience (After Sebald)

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I heard on the Today Programme this morning¬†about the new film by Grant Gee about W.G. Sebald. I can’t claim to be an expert about Gee, but I have repeatedly watched Meeting People is Easy, his film about Radiohead, and I was, completely unrelatedly, the other day, thinking about how it might be one of favourite films: it’s incredibly evocative of its time and place, and of the strangeness of being a band on tour in a world you’ve perfectly drawn in music, in an album, a world that is suddenly, and very energetically trying to appropriate you. I haven’t seen a better Rock Film – I think it’s easily as good as Dont Look Back. But anyway, this film looks pretty ace too (a trailer here) – perhaps a bit Patrick Keillerish, and I guess properly joining up the dots between psychogeographic books and films, which are so tightly entwined in such a novel way to start. Gee spoke wonderfully about it – and Sebald – on the Today programme, so that’s worth a listen too.

I hope it comes round my way, and if not, I’ll have to make a probably not-very-Sebaldian pilgrimage to London to see it…


Self-Portrait Abroad

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment


It’s not me, and I haven’t been abroad either, lately, but instead, it’s Jean-Philippe Toussaint, and I’ve just, in one glorious sitting, read his Self-Portrait Abroad, as translated by John Lambert and published by the heroic, publisher/organisation-of-my-literary-dreams the Dalkey Archive Press. It is a wonderful, uplifting, joyous book in lots of short, place-bound(ish) sections about location and its particularities, and travel, and leisure and adventure, and the passage of time and passages across space. There are lots of aeroplanes, some cultural envoying, a boules tournament, a premonition of death, meetings with old friends and new admirers, missed-meetings with acquaintances, a failed sushi-preparation lesson, reminiscences, train/car journeys, a social faux pas committed on a motorbike, Jean-Philippe and his friend dragging their Christmas shopping for their families into a striptease joint, and lots more. And in under 100 pages. Worth a go, certainly, and I want to read more!

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