September 25th, 2006


(no subject)

Two more antiquated metaphors --  One animal if not  farmyard:  Beating a dead horse.  We all know what it means but none of us has likely seen it -- though it must have been common enough when dray horses  etc. were everywhere -- kicking your Ford failed by the side of the road is no comparison, or running its starter motor in fury till the battery drains.  

And the other antique technology:  "That won't hold water" which I took to mean a comparison to a sieve -- but on reading a religious tract I see that the comparison is between good well-dug wells , esp. fontes Salvatoris , and no-good wells which may fill for a moment but won't hold etc.

My wife Laurie and I talking about  things people once generally knew how to do (saddle horses, care for horses, among many other things) and whether heads were actually more full of techniques and methods for managing the world than they are now.  In the recent Scorsese film about Dylan I was struck by a scene of Dylan at a concert in London about 1965, obviously shot in 16mm.  And I thought of those techniques, the plastic film wound around a core that had to be loaded in the dark (or in a black bag!) and the leader threaded through the gate, the exposure figured, the film then rattling through the gate past the lens (getting stuck sometimes, back to the black bag) and then removed, and bathed in chemicals -- you could "push" underexposed film to get more image -- and then strung up on a big frame like those clothes dryers we were talking about to dry;  the subsequent imagery on rolls, unwound and cut in pieces to be physically stuck together, the editor hanging the bits on hooks over laundry bags, marking them with grease pencils, wearing them around her neck (most editors were women -- Laurie says it 's because it was like weaving.)  How utterly antique, nearly medieval it suddenly seemed, so much handiwork, so many physical techniques to know.  And this was a mere (!) forty years ago.