Let’s get the DVd over and done with straight away. I have had Julien Donkey Boy for at least seven years. I think I bought it from a play.com sale where they had lots of arthouse for sale so I ended up a little crazed and filled with hope of self-improvement. I remember enjoying Gummo, though obviously I didn’t ‘enjoy’ Gummo. It has an odd and disturbing piece and made for a peculiar double bill the afternoon I watched it as the other film was Clint Eastwood’s True Crime. The most brain jarring afternoon double bill was Edward Scissorhands followed by Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer. I think the other way around would have been fine, but I left the Odeon Panton St miffed and discombobulated that day. I had presumed Julien Donkey Boy would be quickly disposed of. Unfortunately Chapter one went straight from the Dogma 95 certificate to some blurred iceskating to the accidental mud drowning of a young man refusing to share some turtles. You think I’d give this sort of thing away?
(side note – a friend of mine used to manage the Screen on Baker Street and was astounded by the men lured to see Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots because it was the first ‘mainstream’ film to show an erect penis penetrating a vagina. He said that businessmen would jog down the stairs having clearly told their PA “this bloody toothache just won’t go, I better get to the dentist”, sit through the film until the penetration shot, straighten their ties and depart).
I have many Colin Wilson books. I have more Colin Wilson books than I have Carl Sagan or Richard Feynman books. This is because Colin Wilson writes about interesting subjects, but mainly because he has written a hell of a lot of books. As far as I know I have every book by Sagan and Feynman, I know I will never have every book by Colin Wilson. I also know that I will never need every book by Colin Wilson. I first bought a Colin Wilson book when I was eleven. It was The Occult and I bought if from a long since closed down bookshop in Old Amersham. This was also the shop where I bought Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Witchcraft in England. These are the sort of purchases by a pre-pubescent that warm the hearts of FBI profilers (I think I’ve already mentioned the sheep’s skull I used to have on my bedside table with the candle on it).
Colin Wilson’s books include Ritual in the Dark, Adrift in Soho, The Outsider, The Encyclopedia of Murder, The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Murder, Space Vampires (turned into the film Lifeforce – nude woman sucks life out of Frank Finlay and others), The Bicameral Critic, and quite a few books on Wilhelm Reich ( I would say that covers about one seventh of his output). He was revered when he wrote The Outsider , a book about alienation, existentialism and other things that make the outsider and artist and vice versa. Then there was a backlash and he has spent much of the rest of his career being a bit cross about there, though that hasn’t slowed his typing speed. I bought my copy of the Outsider so long ago it has lyrics for my band scribbled in the back of it. The tippex I covered them with has begun to powder away and my 22 year old rhyme scheme shame is almost visible.
Today’s Wilson is Origins of the Sexual Impulse. Originally published seven years after The Outsider, chapter titles include Promiscuity and The Casanova Impulse and The Meaning of “Perversion”. Like most Wilson books it displays the breadth of his reading.
“the increase in leisure has given man far too much surplus energy, which he uses in a feverish pursuit of pleasure”. These are the thoughts of Podsnichev, a wife murderer in Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata. If only there was more manual ploughing maybe the streets of Bradford would not be so unmannerly (and many other Friday night streets both north and south).
“it is true that man’s purpose and nature’s seldom correspond exactly” remarks Wilson as he muse on gluttony and sexual desires.
In one intriguing footnote he tells of a soldier’s report to him that when liberating a German prison camp the semi-starved occupants through themselves at each other lustily. This sounds like a scene in a Paul Verhoeven film that I hope is never made.
I also learnt of Gurdjieff’s theory of the seven centres that control our various functions. There is an instinctive centre, an intellectual centre, an emotional centre, a moving centre, a sexual centre and two higher centres. Each centre works of a different energy. Often the other centres steal energy from the sexual centre and then give the sexual centre their useless energy. This means the sexual centre may have to work of intellectual energy. It was around this point I think my decision on whether I should keep Origins of the Sexual Impulse was made.
Definitely an interesting book, but another that must be lost due to the mountain of others I have to get through. Occasionally Colin Wilson seems like the Nigel Rees of existentialism, so many quotes, so many literary references, but I’m not sure I need them all. He often mentions Henri Barbusse’s L’Enfer. I have not read that and think I should make time for that instead (oh and I have a great big copy of Wilson’s Criminal History of Mankind which looks wonderful, so I have to get around to that too.)
 I can’t remember for sure if Frank Finlay had the life sucked out of him, but he was in it and most of the men did.