Regularly, memories wash over me. It’s consuming when it happens. Like someone has emptied a bucket of my own recollections over my head. For a second of time, those memories – piercingly clear but so fleeting it’s impossible to trace them fully – overwhelm the present.
It occurred to me recently that I’ve lived in Denmark long enough now for me to be nostalgic about my first few years here. The course of that time is dimming in my mind – the memories are increasingly apocryphal and I’m beginning to imbue them with impressionistic associations. I feel the memories, in other words, rather than remember them. My narrative of the last seven years is a positive one of self-discovery and economic upward mobility. It’s little wonder that my earliest memories of my time here tend towards the wistful.
There’s a beautiful nothingness waiting at the core of an especially demanding crossfit workout. As soon as you become aware of it, it begins to cloud. But the few short minutes your mind stays unruffled are blissful. There’s only movement – lift, pull, squat, jump, carry or run.
The inspiration for this film came from watching a girl at the Lab finish her workout. I could see she was in that state of abstraction. There was a hypnotic rhythm to her movements, and grace too. That was what we tried to capture.
Two months flew by. Cold but bright. We’re not doing a great deal these days so small things take on greater significance – a coffee in a nice cafe, a meal with friends, a walk through the neighbourhood. Taking a nice picture on Instagram gives a welcome feeling of accomplishment.
Hollywood – or at least the Hollywood John Fante knew, all cigar-wielding moguls, scriptwriters passing one another on the road, on their way in and out of bars, the doorways lit up under neon signs like electrified siren calls, the dream of the Golden West, palm fronds biting the sky (blue of course) – has a tight hold on my imagination.
A hold that’s fuelled by nuggets like this, pruned from a cursory roam around the Internet after an initial pointer from Covenger & Kester.
Bezzerides’ most famous script was Kiss Me Deadly, which was a masterful film noir and influenced many directors in France shortly after its release. Bezzerides transformed the novel by Mickey Spillane into an apocalyptic, atomic-age paranoia film noir. When asked about his script, and his decision to make “the great whatsit” the Pandora’s Box objective of a ruthless cast of characters, Bezzerides commented: “People ask me about the hidden meanings in the script, about the A-bomb, about McCarthyism, what does the poetry mean, and so on. And I can only say that I didn’t think about it when I wrote it . . . I was having fun with it. I wanted to make every scene, every character, interesting. A girl comes up to Ralph Meeker, I make her a nympho. She grabs him and kisses him the first time she sees him. She says, “You don’t taste like anybody I know.” I’m a big car nut, so I put in all that stuff with the cars and the mechanic. I was an engineer, and I gave the detective the first phone answering machine in that picture. I was having fun.”
A few of the better pics from the latest roll of film. I’m not thrilled with these. I was in Amsterdam when I bought the film, some kind of Fuji, and I think it lacks something, maybe a bit of grain. The finish is quite metallic. I still love shooting film though, even if it costs me an arm and a leg to digitise.
Mark told me about these Will Ferrell spots for Old Milwaukee beer last night. They’ve nearly all been recorded as they played on TV, probably on a phone, and then uploaded to personal YouTube channels. (The video above is a handy compilation of several of the individual ads existing out there in the far reaches of YouTube.) I think the ads are great but I didn’t get why I couldn’t find them in HD on the brand channel, or why there wasn’t a neat precis somewhere detailing Old Milwaukee’s marketing strategy and its relationship with Will Ferrell.
This made me reflect on our relationship with information, or more specifically how we’ve gotten used to the near-instant sating of our craving for explanation. Enigma is disappearing. There is little mystery left now that Google has gotten so good at fulfilling our search queries. The world is becoming over-explained. We get to the bottom of something in a few seconds and move on.
It was the absence of answers, and the lack of any obvious ‘why’, that ended up drawing me deeper into the Old Milwaukee world. The grainy YouTube videos, the scant amount of available information, the obvious confusion of viewers – these are classic elements of virality even though the concept of viral is now well and truly appropriated.
An offbeat sensibility coupled with a willful disregard for the conventions of advertising is a pretty standard formula for a brand that wants to establish its independent credentials. But still there’s something else about these ads, something I haven’t seen explained yet. And I think it’s the fact that I’ve had to think for myself what that something else might be which makes me love them so much.
Cold, snowy days. Christmas in Norway. Skiing dredged up memories of New Zealand, and of a school trip to France as a 17-year-old where I had some kind of epiphany, alone on a chairlift, heading up to a piste beneath the bluest sky. For a few moments I remember feeling an absolute peace. Nothingness really. Just upward motion, breathing, and the dim creak of snow.
It’s Sunday, the day when for whatever reason my thoughts most often turn to home. For some years, I spent my Sundays managing a clothes shop in my home town. Lonely days. I remember standing in front of the shop during quiet periods. Watching the Sunday families go by, and the cars, and occasional lunatics and drunks, bored mostly, worrying about whether we’d sold enough so that when the owner rang at the end of the day I could give him good news instead of bad.
When I got home I’d watch Time Team. Earlier this month, when my parents were visiting us here in Copenhagen, my mum and I were cooking dinner and I told her that it was funny the things you miss, things like Time Team, and the smell of fireworks drifting over the lake on Guy Fawkes Night.