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Tony Grist

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Limitations [Feb. 23rd, 2005|09:38 am]
Tony Grist
That meme about things I've done and you haven't. I'm tempted to try it but it makes my head hurt to remember all that stuff.

Every one of those things I've done and you haven't is just another brick in the wall.

Personality is a prison as much as its a romper-room. The more colourful I am, the more I'm stuck with myself.

I'm Quentin Crisp. No-one is ever going to ask me to haul a sleigh to the South Pole.

As a writer I keep coming up against my limitations. I bang against them like a vacuum cleaner butting against the skirting board.

The least limited writer ever was Shakespeare. He creates an illusion of knowing everything. We haven't a clue what he was like in himself.

One of my favourite scenes from the movies is Rita Haworth and Edward Everett Sloane in Lady From Shanghai. They're in the mirror maze, surrounded by multiple images of themselves. He says something like "I'm awfully tired of us, lover." Then they start shooting.

Glass everywhere.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 04:27 am (UTC)
That meme about things I've done and you haven't. I'm tempted to try it but it makes my head hurt to remember all that stuff.

FWIW, I felt that way at first. But then it was hard to stop!

Personality is a prison as much as its a romper-room. The more colourful I am, the more I'm stuck with myself.

The first sentence is definitely true, but as for the second... I don't think there's a correlation between colorfulosity and how much you are stuck with yourself. I think we are all stuck with ourselves, even if we're boring. How much better to be stuck with someone interesting!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 05:16 am (UTC)
I was thinking- at some level- of poor old Hunter Thompson, stuck out there on his fortified ranch with his paranoia and his guns.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 06:02 am (UTC)
I think it was just pride, an overweening desire to go out with a bang and not a whimper, that did him in.

I don't think he is less (or more) tragic than someone who lives a boring life and dies peacefully in their sleep. It's the fact that we are stuck with ourselves that I find tragic.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 06:11 am (UTC)
But not to be stuck with oneself is also tragic. I'm thinking of an actor like Peter Sellers- who was brilliant at being other people, but never sorted out his own identity.

Ah, the human predicament!
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 06:15 am (UTC)
How do you know he never did?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 06:20 am (UTC)
I'm going by hear-say.

I love Peter Sellers and have so liked him to be happy.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 07:31 am (UTC)
I like Peter Sellers, too.

I think it's clear that he *LIKED* playing other people--maybe preferred it--but I don't think you can assume that he didn't know who he was. But I suppose he felt less stuck with himself than some of us.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 08:09 am (UTC)
I think he said something once about not knowing himself- and all the stories about him suggest that he was a terrible psychic mess.

I haven't read the Biography, but I've seen the film that was based on it- with wonderful Geoffrey Rush.

It's like there was a Faustian pact.

Because his screen characters are so vivid- so supernaturally vivid.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-23 09:02 am (UTC)
I saw Peter Sellers one time on the OLD Dick Cavett show. He was a MESS, I never saw anyone look so uncomfortable. Cavett said to him "What's wrong? I'm not known for my rudeness to my guests." Sellers said, with tears in his eyes, that he had to be himself for the interview "And I don't know how to do that. I'm always playing a part, I can hide behind the character." I eventually turned that interview off, the vibrations he gave off even on television were very distressing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 10:51 am (UTC)
This is what I was thinking of. Thanks for the chapter and verse.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-02-23 05:11 am (UTC)
That meme about things I've done and you haven't.

Oh, as they say: Do give it a go!

It's more fun if you leave out the big stuff and find interesting minutiae--for example, I can set my hand, palm down, on a flat surface, turn it over at the wrist until it is palm up, then turn it over again.

Ta-DA! Who else can do that, I ask you?

When I brag about it--and I offer to demonstrate at parties--my family reminds me I have already by given the "Questionable Achievement Award."

I tell them they are jealous.

As for your writing, I admire it immensely, and your wittiness is exquisite and polished.

In my humble and respectful opinion.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 06:08 am (UTC)
Thank you.

To be praised by you- the wittiest lj-er of us all- means so much.

I'll think about the meme, but I'm making no promises.

Oh, OK....

1. I have exchanged letters with Sir Alec Guinness.
2. I have been banned from speaking in an English cathedral.
3. I have been arrested by the Swiss police.
4. I have conducted an open air pagan wedding.
5. I have written and performed in a passion play.
6 I have conducted the funeral of a man who was stabbed to death by his own son.
7. I have been grounded by a sandstorm at Luxor airport.
8. I have spent the night in the ruined tower on Glastonbury Tor.
9. I have shaken hands with Sir Jack Hobbs (famous English cricketer)
10. I been baby sat by Thomas Hardy's sister-in-law.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 06:17 am (UTC)
These are great!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 06:21 am (UTC)
I was getting desperate by the end. I spent about 20 minutes staring vacantly at the ceiling before the final 3 slipped into place.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-23 07:32 am (UTC)
But now don't you have an extra 5 you'd like to add?

I'm sure you have done lots of things that other people haven't. I liked the sandstorm at Luxor Airport.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 08:13 am (UTC)
Well, I don't suppose there are many people who've been both an Episcopal priest And a Wiccan high priest but....

...but actually I'm a very quiet and domestic sort of chap.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-02-23 08:37 am (UTC)
Good grief! It didn't take you long, I'll wager, and you could probably do ten more in as many minutes.

You even left out that you are one of the few who have an autographed Kipling.

This is a fine list.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 10:47 am (UTC)
It took me ages. And I was really desperate by the end. I nearly bailed out after #7.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-23 05:14 am (UTC)
Oh, I LOVE that movie. And I especially love that scene, as well.

I love what you say about personality being as much a prison as it is a romper-room. So true. Anyone who doesn't think so should try to make a change in their behavior. "What's wrong? You've never done (it) that way before!"

Actually, I like your whole message. It sort of reflects the way I feel today...rather trapped within myself.


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm crazy about Orson Welles. I even own a copy (and have sat through) the almost unwatchable mess that is Jess Franco's edit of Welles's unfinished Don Quixote.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-23 06:23 am (UTC)
The Magnificent Ambersons.

There is a radio station here that runs old radio shows. Orson Welles makes many appearances, in stuff he wrote as well as the Shadow (he was the ORIGINAL Shadow) and a few other plays. The voice was very hard to ignore.

There's another example of what you were talking about. He wasn't allowed to be anything but brilliant. He wasn't so brilliant in his personal relationships - Rita Hayworth said, after they divorced that "he wanted Gilda, but he got Rita Hayworth."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 08:05 am (UTC)
The accepted wisdom is that he made one great movie then frittered his talent. I don't think that's true. I'm a passionate advocate of his later films, like Chimes at Midnight and The Trial and F For Fake.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-23 09:03 am (UTC)
Let me see...I've seen Chimes at Midnight. I"ll have to look the rest of them up.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 10:49 am (UTC)
Chimes at Midnight is magnificent. And it contains the best battle sequence ever.

And all done on a shoe-string with a handful of extras.
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From: saskia139
2005-02-23 08:45 am (UTC)
You are incredibly brilliant. :)
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-23 09:03 am (UTC)
I agree.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 10:50 am (UTC)
Aw shucks...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-23 10:49 am (UTC)
Gosh, thanks. :)
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