“Knitting And Catastrophe In The Cinema”. Who could resist a talk with such a title? Certainly not me, which is why I pranced majestically through the south London streets in freezing temperatures yesterday evening to go and listen to Jonathan Faiers explain all.
Unfortunately, Dr Faiers turned out to be an academic, so his talk – which contained some interesting and intriguing snippets – was couched in dreadful brain-numbing postmodern gobbledegook. I realise that to carve out a career in modern academia you have to talk and write like that, but how one yearns to hear a simple, straightforward sentence! Instead, it’s all “discourses interrogating notions of the Other”, blah blah bollocks. I think “interrogate”, in its various forms, popped out of Dr Faiers’ mouth half a dozen times in little more than twenty minutes. I would happily have subjected him to a proper interrogation, tied to a chair in a secret police basement with a Klieg light shoved in his face.
Things were not helped by the fact that he was unable to master the technology to show us the film clips with which he meant to illustrate his blather. These would have included scenes from The King Of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1983), Breakfast At Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards, 1961), Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968), and Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944). You see what I mean? It could have been very interesting indeed.
In spite of all, I do applaud Dr Faiers for his title. “Knitting And Catastrophe In The Cinema” deserves its place in any list of highly amusing academic studies, alongside the one I devised thirty years ago, in tandem with my then colleague, the journalist and television person Tracey MacLeod. We planned to insert, in a bibliography, reference to a paper entitled “Topiary And Miscegenation In Contemporary Cinema”. Alas, it never appeared, for reasons I cannot now recall.