Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ginger beard and Spanish girlfriend

Me, Eleanor, James, Jamie and Janne (why all those Js? WHY?) went to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre playing at KOKO a few weeks back.

We were in the pub beforehand and Janne, who’s Finnish, not that that’s really relevant, but it seems like quite a key thing to mention about Janne, although now I have I guess I should mention that he also has a ginger beard and a Spanish girlfriend - anyway, Janne said that he’d liked my Stockwell Flats project. He was new to the Electric Goose, I think, otherwise he’d have got bored ages ago and slashed his wrists.

Anyway, he said that my project – to photograph the same view of one of the flats throughout the year – reminded him of a similar undertaking by Augie, a character in the film Smoke. Augie takes a photo of the street from the same position outside his New York tobacco shop every day, at the same time every morning.

Actually, I admitted to Janne, I may have got the idea from that film, and if not, reading tons of Paul Auster (who wrote the screenplay of Smoke) would have probably put me in the frame of mind to come up with that kind of idea, if you see what I mean.

So Janne tells me that when he was 18, he was going out with a girl who was 16, and one summer they went into a photo booth, as couples do, and had four of those little passport photos taken. They cut the four in half, and kept two photos each. Then, the next summer, they did the same thing. Shortly after, they split up, but remained friends and carried on the tradition of visiting a photo booth once every summer. “She’s married now, with a kid,” said Janne. “But we still do it. We have 14 years’ worth of passport photos of the two of us.”


Later in the evening, when we were waiting for the Brian Jonestown Massacre to come onstage, some suited fool pushed past us to get to the front of the crowd. The exchange that followed was, I thought, worth recording:

James: Look at that wanker in his suit; ‘Oh look, I’ve got to get to the front.’ Probably going for a meeting up there.
Jamie: Yeah and I bet it involves getting us to all sell a bit of our souls.
James: Isn’t that the kind of thing you do for a living?
Jamie: Yeah, but I do it wearing smart-casual.


* (asterisk) said...

I liked Smoke. I particularly recall a scene where a phone is ringing and on screen is just and empty apartment in which the phone is ringing. No one picks up. Nothing happens. Just a wide shot of an empty apartment with a ringing phone. Held for a good long time, too. Great.

Will said...

I don't remember that bit, but one of my favourite film moments ever is at the end after Auggie Wren has told Paul Benjamin the long and brilliant story of what happened to him one Christmas.

There's a pause while it sinks in, before Paul Benjamin says: "Bullshit is a real talent, Auggie." His friend smiles with a glint in his eye and says, "I don't know what you mean." Paul Benjamin smiles back and for ages the two sit in silence, smiling at each other and, of course, smoke.