Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Bryan Talbot... and Nic Roeg

I remember going (a helluva long time ago... 1987, I think) to a comic book signing (in Banbridge of all places) by British comic book legend Bryan Talbot. He was promoting the Valkyrie Press edition of his finally completed, long-in-the-making THE ADVENTURES OF LUTHER ARKWRIGHT. And a fine comic it is (I think it's still in print from Dark Horse - at least it should be, it's a landmark classic). Anyhoo, partly to deflect from the usual comparisons of the work to Mike Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius cycle, Talbot engaged his fanboy audience (and there was a hell of a lot of us rammed into the converted roof space of a small book shop) in a little talk about how movie maker Nic Roeg influenced the work.
I stood my turn with the first couple of issues to be autographed behind some pushy plonker who'd seemingly brought a complete run of 2000ADs to be signed (okay, maybe just the ones with Nemesis Book III in them - but a helluva stack all the same). Anyhow, I remember having a little chat about Roeg with the great man. Being a pretentious, arty, 16-year old with self-consciously classicist tastes in cinema and music at the time, I was already a fan of The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, and so was familiar with PERFORMANCE and THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. Plus, being sixteen, and with raging hormones misfiring left, right and centre, I admired works like DON'T LOOK NOW, WALKABOUT and BAD TIMING for their admirable dedication to gratuitous nudity. I could withstand any amount of tricksy storytelling techniques for a few minutes of Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter or Theresa Russell in the raw. Anyway, Bryan and me bonded briefly on this common ground.
Thinking about this the other night, I was amazed at just how many of Roeg's innovations have trickled down into the mainstream of cinematic and televisual storytelling. Hell, as I write this, I'm watching the season finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and they've just shown a sequence of Balthar banging his robot lover, intercut with him swearing in as president, that was pure Roeg. Hmm, synchronicity. Hey, this rambling anecdote starts in 1987, jumps forward to tonight, and is about to jump back a couple of weeks, then forward again one week. This just gets more and more Nic Roeg.

Cut to Friday the fifth of May, 2006. I've just gone on a little errand to the off-license to pick up some booze for my co-workers and me (hey, it's nearly five on a friday, your mind starts to wander towards a weekend of drunkeness, you make a couple of comments along those lines to your colleagues, and before long you're walking up Church Street with two carrier bags full of clinking wine bottles). I turn the corner into Market Square, and badda-bing, my path is hindered by some guy pointing a film camera up the hill. Probably just a TV news guy, getting some stock footage of the town for some piece or another. Think I'll just stand behind him. Don't want to be on tonight's news carrying two bags full of booze in the direction of my workplace. Might bring us into disrepute. I get bored waiting, and risk getting into the edge of shot in order to go to the ATM at the Abbey National and get a few quid out to bide me over the weekend. It's not like a TV camera would have a particularly wide-angled lens on it, so I should be okay.
I get back to work, where I hear that actually, they're shooting a movie in some disused sections of the South Tyrone Hospital. It wasn't some unidentified BBC or UTV bod - it must have been a guy from the film crew guerilla-shooting some coverage of the town centre. Knackers - I might have made the edges of a widescreen, panoramic shot after all. Ah well, it's probably some unnamed b-movie no-one'll ever see. Should be safe.

Cut to Friday the twelfth of May, 2006. I open the front cover of The Tyrone Times and turn to page two. Bugger. Turns out I'm in Nic Roeg's new movie, PUFFBALL. Possibly.


cracked actor said...

been sleeping every night this last week tucked up close to the side of a nissan hut beside the hospital in the hop ethey are still filming there and i might get a bit-part.

my testicles have swollen to the size of bramley apples and i can hardyl tyep correctlyu as myf ingers are clammmming upw ith this arthur itis.