November 19th, 2020

Trundling On Through November

A lot of people are putting their Christmas decorations up- and I'm feeling the urge myself- but resisting it for reasons I can't quite articulate. The closest I can come is that it would feel like cheating.

I'm interrupting the Dickens marathon to read Josiah Bancroft's wildly inventive The Books of Babel- or rather the three volumes of the projected tetralogy that are currently available. My eldest son recommended it to me. I like fantasy- but only if it takes me places I'd never have got to under my own steam- which this does.

I was watching Commanche Station yesterday- a movie made shortly before it dawned on filmmakers that wild men wandering about in the deserts of the old west might not have bothered to visit the barbers regularly. It's the last of the westerns Budd Boetticher made with Randolph Scott- an actor who makes John Wayne look demonstrative. The racial and sexual politics are of their time- but what else can one expect? On the plus side it's beautifully written (by Burt Kennedy) staged without fuss and shot entirely on location in glorious cinemascope.