The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

"Smart boy Kevin was a smart boy then"

Film historian Kevin Brownlow and friend

I realize my posts have been a bit heavy on the silent side of things, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to mention this amazing one-hour BBC radio documentary with British film saviour Kevin Brownlow, author of the indispensible The Parade's Gone By, and the man behind fabulous documentaries like Hollywood: The Pioneers, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow and Unknown Chaplin, not to mention his one-man war to save Abel Gance's Napoleon.

The piece from The Archive Hour will likely only be available for listening for the next week, and includes excerpts from Brownlow's interview tapes, made while compiling information for The Parade's Gone By in the early '60s, with the likes of Karl Brown ("Birth of a Nation was just another picture...") and Mary Pickford ("There's nobody following in my footsteps."). If only there had been more people like him around back then.

1 comment :

Rob said...

Kevin Brownlow is a God. What's going to happen when he's gone? I shudder. Besides "It Happened Here" is just an amazing piece of work, even "Winstanley" was unlike anything else. He's without a doubt one of the great saviours of modern cultural history. He seems to be omnipresent in silent film appreciation, with an almost prescient sense of when to be at the right place at the right time. Kobal had that sense, too - must be some kind of magic.