Oh, grassy glades! oh, ever vernal endless landscapes in the soul; in ye,—though long parched by the dead drought of the earthy life,—in ye, men yet may roll, like young horses in new morning clover; and for some few fleeting moments, feel the cool dew of the life immortal on them. Would to God these blessed calms would last. But the mingled, mingling threads of life are woven by warp and woof: calms crossed by storms, a storm for every calm. There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause:—through infancy’s unconscious spell, boyhood’s thoughtless faith, adolescence’ doubt (the common doom), then scepticism, then disbelief, resting at last in manhood’s pondering repose of If. But once gone through, we trace the round again; and are infants, boys, and men, and Ifs eternally. Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling’s father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.
From “The Glider,” Chapter 114 of Melville’s Moby-Dick.
OK. My post’s title is solely for the sake of titillation (I have also been drinking lots of sangria and watching the first HP movie on TV, and the idea of a Harry Potter sex romp is making me giggle. Twenty points from Gryffindor). Still. Just so you’re not too disappointed, check out Shags the Dustmop’s collection of erotic Harry Potter fan fiction. A half-hearted endorsement, at best. Weird and creepy.
Now, for something truly great…
Fans of if…. will no doubt be familiar with “Sanctus,” the beautiful piece of music that haunts the film. If this recording is not the same as the one in the film, it’s very close. Either way, a sublime rendition–
“Sanctus” (from the Missa Luba)
All the sangria and erotica and Congolese choral interpretations of Catholic masses have for some reason brought to mind the paintings of Wilfredo Lam (longtime pal of one of our favorite writers, Lydia Cabrera).
A decent enough collections of his vibrant paintings can be found here (and you can always google for more, you lazy bastard).
Finally, it is always something special when a new blog is born. Check out Falcon Hawksome. Despite the author claiming that he “can’t stand” Van Morrison’s (or Them’s, if you want to be overly technical, geek) “Gloria,” please take my word that he is something of an arbiter of taste.
OK. Back to my sangria.
Criterion has finally given Lindsay Anderson‘s 1968 classic if…. a proper DVD release. if…. is one of my all time favorite films. Mick Travis (played with savage aplomb by a very young Malcolm McDowell) leads “The Crusaders,” a band of rebels who defy “The Whips,” the cruel upperclassmen who mete out harsh punishments at their stringent English boarding school. “What I want to know is when do we live?” asks restless Mick. However, the life of individual freedom that he wants to live is so suppressed by the cruel and dominating hierarchy of his school (a microcosm of British society) that he must take liberty by force. In one scene, the Crusaders playfully fence with each other, declaring “Death to all tyrants!” The playfulness quickly slips into violence, as the repressed urges of these would-be revolutionaries flare up. When Mick is cut, he shows his wounded hand and declares with pride “Blood! Real blood!”
Anderson loads if…. with myriad revolutionary images that foreshadow the film’s shocking ending, at the same time tempering if…. with a surrealist sense of humor that satirizes the inherent dangers in institutionalized education and groupthink in general. if…. is bitingly funny, oddly sexy, and unlike any other film I’ve ever seen. The new edition looks great (much better than my VHS dub) and sounds great, and the commentary track provided by Malcolm McDowell and film critic David Robinson is insightful and surely a must for fans of the film. But who am I kidding, if you’re a fan of this film you’ve already seen the release and listened to the commentary–right?