Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coincidence and Weekend Entertainment

Two coincidences today, September 18.

I needed a book to take with me while walking the dog and I grabbed a nice Faber paperback copy of Paul Auster's Oracle Night.  (The UK paperback looks so much cooler than the American.)  Why do I need to take a book to walk the dog?  Because sometimes we sit by the statue of Samuel Hahnemann and he watches the traffic.  (I can't believe that we visit this statue so much because Hahnemann is the inventor of homeopathy and I hate nonsense like that.  I should boycott that statue based on principle alone.  And even worse, Hahnemann once had a theory that coffee was a major cause of disease.  Those are fighting words.  But he has a very nice statue in a nice little park so I overlook all of that.)

Coincidence is usually a major element in Auster's work.  I only had time to read 25 pages of Oracle Night so I don't know what part coincidence will play in this book, but that didn't matter because I already had my coincidence:  an important part of the book occurs on September 18.  (Okay, September 18, 1982.)  Auster uses footnotes in this novel so that's how I know the date.  I realize that this is a relatively minor coincidence.  Its only fun because its Auster.

Later on in the day I watched the first episode of the BBC television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  And to my surprise, I greatly enjoyed it.  Typically I cannot watch adaptations of books I have read but I happily made it through the first episode.  (I watched the UK version of it.  The American version was cut down to six episodes.  No way I'm going to watch a butchered version of it.)  I've read about how hard it was to follow and I know I would've been lost if I had not just read the book.  I know the movie version of the book was released this weekend but it will not open in the US until December 9.  That hardly seems fair but at least it gives me time to watch the entire tv series first.

After TTSS, I decided to watch some of a BBC documentary series called the 7 Ages of Rock.  I watched the first episode, The Birth of Rock.  It was awesome and almost entirely devoted to Jimi Hendrix.  (The version broadcast in America was, I read, substantially different because the filmmakers didn't have the American rights to much of the Hendrix music and film used in the British version and couldn't show it in the US.  What a load of crap that is.)  Hendrix's career was relatively short and he died at age 27 on September 18, 1970 - my second September 18 coincidence of the day.

I also read a volume of Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack this weekend.  And the long-awaited issue no. 12 of Optic Nerve.  The first half of Optic Nerve was so-so.  It is the story of a gardener who struggles to convince the world of the greatness of his new art form, hortisculpture.  The second story was much better - Amber Sweet is the story of a woman who is constantly mistaken for a porn star because of her likeness the pictures on the starlet's website, a terrible, Auster-like coincidence.


Steve Scott said...

The next time you walk the dog you should grab a copy of Natalie Robins' COPELAND'S CURE: HOMEOPATHY AND THE WAR BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE. It may not sell you on Homeopathy but I'll bet you will no longer think of it as nonsense.

OlmanFeelyus said...

I've tried and failed to read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I've also tried and failed to watch the BBC miniseries. I know that I'll like both of them if I can just stick with them, but they are just too slow and dry for me! However, there is the new movie coming out and Nick Jones loved it, so that might be the route for me.

Book Glutton said...

SS- I think I am pretty set in my thinking on homeopathy. However, ever since reading your stuff the past couple of years on John D. MacDonald, I have become a convert to reading him. The work you do on The Trap of Solid Gold is amazing -perhaps the best blog focused on a single writer I have come across. Next time I need a book to take on a walk with the dog, I'm going to grab a Travis McGee novel.

OF- I started reading TTSS in the bathtub and had no choice but to keep reading it (as it was the only book I brought with me). After the opening chapter set in that boarding school, I started to wonder how on earth this novel could have garnered so much high praise over the years. Soon I was far enough into it that I had to know how it all would unfold. If I had been on the couch with other books within easy reach, I'd now be in the same boat as you.

Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

Er, how long were you in that bloody bathtub? You must've come out looking like a prune!