Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the kindness of strangers

Since I started this project, something that has amazed me is how much people are willing to help.  Everyday, I phone up all kinds of folk - record store owners, typists, watchmakers, photo-developers - and ask them if I could interview them for the Obselidia.

And unbelievably, they (9 times out of 10) say yes.

I don't know if it's motivated by the desire to help me, or if it's because they too want their work recorded before it's gone.  Maybe it's because no one has ever asked them what they have spent many years of their adult lives engaged in (sometimes not even their own spouse) and they're happy to have the chance to share.

In any case, right here, right now, I just want to thank everyone who's helped me so far.  We're recording the world as it disappears, and I believe future generations will be grateful for this history.

And thanks especially to Sophie, the cinema projectionist, who has promised to share all the secrets of that world with me tomorrow night.

The kindness of strangers is a wondrous thing.  May it never be obsolete...

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Cinema Projectionist

I went to the movies this past weekend to see Elegy, and the beginning of the first reel was a little out of focus.  The audience mumbled and grumbled and then started calling out to the projectionist - who quickly fixed his error.

This got me thinking about cinema projectionists.  They're not obsolete - not yet, but I guess their days are truly numbered.

I remember watching a movie by Hungarian art master Bela Tarr and half way through this epic black and white opus about a whale and an insane asylum the projectionist accidentally (I assume, though I wondered if it was deliberate sabotage) played the wrong reel.  It wasn't the wrong reel from the right movie - it was something completely different, psychedelic technicolor, a beach, a family.  I have no idea what it was, but it woke up every sleeping member of the audience, that's for sure.

I've always like the idea that there's someone up there, lovingly playing the movie to the audience, making sure they see the movie they've paid to see in the best possible light.  And never getting any thanks or recognition for it.

So I guess, I want to thank them now.  For all their work.  They won't be forgotten.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lonesome George

I just found out - George may not be as lonesome as was previously thought.

Believed to be the last of his species (the Pinta Island Tortoise, subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni) - it is now thought that George is going to be a Dad!  The mother is of a different subspecies and it won't be known for a few more months whether the eggs are viable or not...but what hope this gives my heart.

Even if the eggs aren't viable, I'm just happy to know he's not all alone.  It can't be easy being the last of your species (trust me, as an ex-door-to-door salesman of encyclopedias I have some idea...), so to know there is some sympathetic creature there, giving him company, it means a lot to me.

Though maybe, I'll have to find a new blogger's name for myself.  Daddy George just wouldn't fit.