Yes, well, maybe it is a bit vainglorious to compare me and Gabriel White filming some conversations in his living room in Freemans Bay with that epoch-making set of confrontations between David Frost at the apex of his (bizarre) media career and gloomy, half-mad, exiled ex-US President Richard Nixon. I shouldn't think Ron Howard will be rushing to acquire the rights for another Hollywood blockbuster, though of course you never know ...
Perhaps a more appropriate model would be Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones's incarnations as "Scratch 'n' Sniff", those two bozos who used to conduct pretentiously inane dialogues in Alas Smith & Jones in the 80s and 90s. As Wikipedia so trenchantly puts it: "Smith was the idiot who knew everything, Jones the idiot who knew nothing."
Be that as it may, we remain undaunted. Gabriel has spent a lot of time over the years reading and annotating his copies of my REM trilogy: Nights with Giordano Bruno (Bumper Books, 2000), The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis (Titus, 2006) and EMO (Titus, 2008), and he had quite a lot of questions to ask me about them. What harm, we thought, in sharing the results with an online audience?
Turnabout is fair play, though. Regular readers of this blog can hardly claim not to have noticed my admiration for Gabriel's films Aucklantis (2006) (reviewed here) and Tongdo Fantasia (2008) (launched earlier this year at OUi boutique in K Rd).
So we decided to do a double interview: I would quiz him on the inspirations and influences behind his Tongdo Fantasia, and then he would ask me questions about the REM novels.
For my money, that's better than either Frost / Nixon or Smith & Jones. I mean, didn't you ever long to see Nixon asking Frost some tough questions about just who precisely he thought he was to be so up on his high horse? And why didn't Smith ever swap places with Jones? That's what I want to know. With us, on the other hand, you get to see us on opposite sides of the table - in itself well worth the price of admission, I'd have thought ...
But seriously, folks, here's a breakdown of both interviews, now up for viewing on Gabriel's website (the clips take a little while to download, but at least that gives you time to mull over the info contained in each). They've also been indexed with themes and topics for your viewing convenience:
Jack Ross interviews Gabriel White on Tongdo Fantasia. (Sunday, November 30, 2008). Gabriel White – artist website. 5 video clips:
- [1/5] Buddhism / the ‘pedestrian filmmaker.’
- [2/5] The 3-fold approach / photographs / editing.
- [3/5] Themes – natural and unnatural.
- [4/5] The verbal approach / cinematic landscape.
- [5/5] Bashō’s travel diaries.
Gabriel White interviews Jack Ross on his REM trilogy. (Sunday, November 30, 2008). Gabriel White – artist website. 9 video clips:
- [1/9] General ideas and themes of the trilogy.
- [2/9] General ideas and themes of the trilogy.
- [3/9] General ideas and themes of the trilogy / Nights with Giordano Bruno – layout.
- [4/9] General ideas and themes of the trilogy – the fictional creator/s.
- [5/9] General ideas and themes of the trilogy / Nights with Giordano Bruno / psychoanalysis.
- [6/9] Nights with Giordano Bruno – Lullism / the Magus / Bruno’s Cena de le ceneri.
- [7/9] Apuleius – influence on Bruno and Jack Ross.
- [8/9] The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis – amnesia / narrative approach / Atlantis.
- [9/9] The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis – two ways of approaching amnesia: cuttings and automatic writing.
[Apuleius: The Golden Ass (as illustrated by Milo Manara)]
Depending on the response to these, there may well be more to come. We didn't have enough time to talk about either Gabriel's Aucklantis or my novel EMO, but there are number of interesting points still to be thrashed out about both, I'd have thought.
Watch this space ...
[Postscript - 10th December]:
There's now a new interview up on Gabriel's site:
John Radford interviews Gabriel White on Aucklantis. (Sunday, December 7, 2008). Gabriel White – artist website. 5 video clips:John Radford: "It's like a child's view, or someone from another reality arriving here and looking at this thing which we call a city and the way this thing works and making assumptions ... that are very reasonable assumptions to make ..."
- [1/5] Sleepyhead / stream-of-consciousness city / wandering rocks / the epic.
- [2/5] Mayoral Drive / Atlantis / North pole theory / sacred isles.
- [3/5] The shadow / confusions / characters.
- [4/5] Groundhog Day / references / the car.
- [5/5] En plein air / counterworlds.