Chapter One – Chapter Two (Bittersweet and Bond)

In Chapter One of Chapter One I forgot to mention how long the items had been on my shelves or stacked in an unruly pile in the corner of a room. The Heart is Deceitful Above All The Things had been snuck in a gap a couple of years ago. I bought it because I was in one those “oh look it’s a gloomy lo-fi American indie movie” frames of mind. For many years, this was my usual frame of mind for 73% of the waking day (obviously the dreaming part of the day was still looked after by Bob Fosse). The Diversity of Life hasn’t even been on my shelf yet. It was in one of those carrier bags in the corner of the room that I hadn’t managed to unpack in the brief time him between tour dates and festivals. I have only possessed that for six weeks. I bought that because it fits into my ethos of “I must know everything about the world and I must know it now”.

My next Chapter One has been on many shelves of mine and, until recently, had been in that cupboard my parents still let me have in their home for things of my childhood that I don’t have room for. I bought the novel From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming when I was 15 or 16 years old. It was from a secondhand bookshop on Bath Road in Cheltenham. It was 20p. I didn’t buy it because I was a James Bond fan, though obviously as a teenage boy I was. This situation would change after I saw a View to A Kill (though Octopussy and prompted a few questions, especially Roger Moore using the Barbara Woodhouse method to tame a tiger). I bought From Russia With Love because it was the film-tie in version. When I was a film-obsessed boy, anything that suggested cinema and was under 90p was purchased.[1]I have every film tie in from the Planet of the Apes series and quite a few Alfred Hitchcock’s Things that Go Bump in The Night anthologies.

Reading Chapter One of From Russia With Love  it becomes very clear why the film franchise was so popular with companies after some product placement. The chapter predominantly deals with the oiling of the exquisite musculature of a blonde man. From the masseuse’s point of view, there is something about the small golden hairs at the base of his back that suggest evil. Earlier on, an interested dragonfly monitors these small gold hairs above the coccyx. Products placed on page one (though page 1 is page 7 in this edition) include Faberge, Dunhill and Girard-Perregaux (it’s watch manufacturer it seems). The amount of detail in describing the villa where this chapter is set would shame an estate agent or Mills and Boon author with a love of extraneous information. In the final paragraph the reader discovers the masseuse’s fear of him was correct, he is the lead assassin for SMERSH.

In summary –

  1. one naked man, heavily muscled and oiled, yet cold.
  2. One topless masseuse with “fine breasts” that “shone with health”.
  3. One dragonfly (blue and green)
  4. The villa has no bathroom but does have a lavatory walled off in the kitchen.
  5. A hint of much violence yet to come.

I have still not read any John Le Carre, so I’ve decided From Russia With Love, after 26 years of possession, will be leaving the house.

A Bittersweet Life was another Blockbuster purchase, just £1.99 but bough as part of a 3 for £5 offer at the branch in Levenshulme. A documentary about The Cockettes and a double disc edition of Chariots of Fire were the other films.

The first 8 minutes included a hint of melancholy angst, a quick but athletically impressive fight sequence on a large tabletop, a gangster boss with a jealous rage that suggests a possible revenger’s tragedy, and an idiot who we knew was an idiot because he was a slob with bouffant hair. A Bittersweet Life goes back onto the shelf, ready for watching in full


[1] I bought my first film book with the money I’d received for my 8th birthday. It was Alan Frank’s A Hamlyn Pictiorial History of the Horror Film. It was wonderful. Sadly, as I got a little older, I found out that the actual films were not as good as ones that I’d imagined from just witnessing one still in the book.

Next gigs – Monday 20th – Victoria Theatre, Halifax Thursday 23rd MAC, Birmingham

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2 Responses to Chapter One – Chapter Two (Bittersweet and Bond)

  1. Clair says:

    I like this idea a lot. There are so many books lying unloved on my bookshelves, this seems like a good approach to digging through the accumulated wordage.

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