Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Whenever we would have guests around, my Dad would boast about my ability to identify the year of any photograph, film or song. I would be sheepish, downplaying my mad skillz, but I've always made a point to ask the year of everything. Whether it's a deteriorated red hardcover book by Arthur Mee or a DVD of a J. Arthur Rank film, I want to know where it all fits historically. I need to develop this narrative in order to make sense of the past.

When my Dad and I watch old 1950s English films together, he always remarks about how sad he is to learn that all these actors have since died. Together we contemplate what they would have been like in real life, whether the cast were friends with one another, whether they were warm, kind or funny. We often know that they led tragic lives. They were either alcoholic depressives or else closeted homosexuals who would later commit suicide.

His knowledge of this particular genre of film is astounding and whenever we sit together, I encourage him to document all his observations in a blog or even a zine. I urge him to get in touch with his old English teacher, who coincidentally has written two encyclopaedias about the history of British film. He puts it off, expressing anxiety that he needs to learn more before finally making contact. I tell him to hurry up: we don't have much time.

I suppose we share not only the desire to be experts, but also that fear that we may never know enough. I wonder if we'll ever be ready enough to reach out to the establishment. I wonder if we'll ever spar with those we admire, in such a way that might suggest that our views might even carry some kind of authority. I look forward to that feeling that might fill me one day, that satisfaction that would come from knowing enough to finally move forward.

Highly Dangerous

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