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All posts for the month November, 2007

Noticed previews and reviews all over the place for the film of Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass”, but ignored them due to some prejudice against Pullman and “His Dark Materials” – I think I only drew any earlier conclusion when I saw some TV vote “contest” concering Pullman, J K Rowling and J R R Tolkien up against DNA’s H2G2. Anyway, must have got the wrong impression of Pullman’s position.

Very interesting e-mail interview with Pullman by Peter Chattaway on FilmChat, sent to me by Sam.

Perhaps a little too cock-sure, but very direct about Dawkins, Tolkien, C S Lewis and Rowling, but a perspective I’d sympathise with. Probably too extreme a “materialist” for my “new-physicalist” position. More later.

Interesting, Sam see’s Pullman as an idiot, in his reading of Tolkien anyway.

Promised Land
(Words & music by Chuck Berry)

I left my home in Norfolk Virginia
California on my mind
I straddled that Greyhound
And rode into Raleigh
And on across Caroline

We had motor trouble that turn into a struggle
Halfway across Alabam’
And that hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham

Right away I brought me a through train ticket
Ridin’ across Mississippi clean
And I was on that midnight flyer out of Birmingham
Smoking into New Orleans

Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just to help me get to Houston town
There are people there who care a little about me
And they won’t let the poor boy down

Sure as you’re born brought me a silk suit
Put luggage in my hand
And I woke up high over Alburquerque
On a jet to the promised land

Working on a t-bone steak a la carte
Flying over to the golden state
Ah when the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
He would set us at the terminal gate

Swing low chariot come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone
Cut your engines and cool your wings
And let me make it to the telephone

Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia
Tidewater four ten o nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling
And the poor boy is on the line.

Thanks to The Crackerjacks at Klatchies bringing to mind what Elvis made famous. What is it about American road tunes ?

I left my home in Slough, and drove the A329M to Bracknell and came back via Maidenhead. Nope, not the same ring ?

Incidentally, Birmingham to New Orleans is still a passenger train service you can take. Here in Huntsville, Alabam’ lots of (freight) train traffic, from Virginia oddly enough, across the Appalacians via Chattanooga, but Birmingham is still the closest operating passenger terminal, a good 80 miles away.

Made a minor correction to my Pirsig timeline when Jim Williams pointed out I’d mixed up second wife Wendy with first wife Nancy in 1976. Ooops.

Coincidentally, and much more exciting, Toronto Star journalist Mark Richardson has agreed a deal with Knopf (Random House, hardcover) and Vintage (paperback) for publication of his “Zen & Now” story of his own Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM) road trip, into which he has woven much newly researched detail of Pirsig’s biography. Due in September next year; 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the orginal ZMM road trip.

Pisrig fans and scholars will find much new interest in detail background to the schizophrenic enlightenment behind ZMM and Lila. I wish Mark every success with the publication.

See also Henry Gurr’s news item for November 2007.