So far I have only walked out on one film in my life. I have fallen asleep in the cinema on a couple occasions but that was during the second half of a double bill of Che and I was full to the brim of painkillers after breaking my wrist. I like to arrive in time for the adverts, the trailers and the film.
In 1988, though, I walked out of a showing of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I couldn’t stand it. If you ask me why I can’t say - I have sat through worse but there was something that afternoon about the way Daniel Day Lewis kept saying, ‘Take your clothes off’ in a cod Eastern European accent that got my goat and I was off. A few years later my friend Tracy Lee had a similar experience with the film Prospero’s Books. So from that day forward any film, book or art that provoked an immediate and irritated reaction in us was called a Prospero’s Book.
It is my literary shorthand for something that I can’t get on with.
On the other hand I have to shamefacedly confess that despite several attempts Keri Hulme’s Bone People remains a Prospero’s Book .I live in hope that one day I will get it. That my intellect will ripen and I will be able to read Ulysses, The Waves or embrace magical realism. All these failures loom large in my imagination.
Some happier developments from immediate reactions have included the following:
- Making a lifelong friend after we discovered during our first conversation that we were both reading Miss Mole by EH Young;
- Knowing that I would get on with my father-in-law because he loved the film Random Harvest;
- Realising I could marry a man who liked Magazine’s Song from under the Floorboards as much as I did;
- Being unable to stop myself smiling at strangers reading Norman Collins‘s London Belongs To Me or Patti Smith’s Just Kids.
What are your Prospero’s Books and have any books forged a friendship for you?