Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Let me be frank: Kerry Katona's Tough Love is unquestionably a jewel in the crown of modern British literature. While it has been argued that it lacks the 'polyglot literary intensity' (a charge levelled at her during an emotionally draining university debate with Gore Vidal) of her other work, accusations of narrative simplicity can only be met with mockery. Katona has created a world that is so rich in detail and emotional depth that it makes Finnegans Wake read like a tabloid editorial.
To begin: Katona's protagonist is the beautiful but enigmatic model Leanne Crompton. Crompton, living a life of haute couture fashion and high-class cuisine loses her job, spiralling into an abyss where her only option is to head 'north', back to her hometown. (Was the reference to this mysterious cardinal direction a nod to 'Eyeing The North Star', 1997's collection of African-Canadian literature that Katona had mentioned as an influence at a press conference in Vancouver? One wonders.) In any case, the world Katona creates is both a delicate and touching reminder of her working class roots, and also a call to arms: Katona is an unashamed Trotskyite, and her long friendship with Christopher Hitchens has been well-documented.
Not unlike Tracey Emin, Katona can still make astute observations on her inherited class; Crompton notes wryly to herself that 'The Knowledge and Knickers speech bubble that the papers insisted on printing above the new breed of page-three girls’ heads was always made up in two seconds flat by some hack in Canary Wharf – it had nothing to do with the models.' Katona's sharp intellect clearly hasn't been dulled by those evenings of champagne and beluga with Rushdie and Naipaul. Similarly, Katona's prose leaps to life with her delicate wordplay; the movement of a woman's breasts become 'ginormous plastic orbs bobbing around'. Sexual arousal in the man is described as 'a quick lump in [the] trousers'. Your reviewer has tried his hand at writing a novel or two and it can be depressing to read words like this, words that come so easily to Katona and dance like the rising sun on the savannah. But then, is that not genius?
Tough Love is a dense and complex work, and to divulge further plot details would be to do Katona and her readership a grave disservice, for rarely I have I come across a work of such organic plot divergence. It is not easy to read, that much will be obvious from the novel's dark foreword. At times this reader found it as challenging (emotionally and syntactically) as anything found in Proust's In Search Of Lost Time. Most people of power in today's literary world agree that this novel should see Katona rise into the 'premier league' of powerhouses in literature. In any language. This reviewer would have to agree.
Soren Kierkegaard once wrote that 'There are two kinds of geniuses. The characteristic of the one is roaring, but the lightning is meagre and rarely strikes; the other kind is characterized by reflection by which it constrains itself or restrains the roaring. But the lightning is all the more intense; with the speed and sureness of lightning it hits the selected particular points - and is fatal.' On the basis of her work so far, it would appear that Kerry Katona fits into both categories.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
- Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in.
- The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice-versa.
- The camera must be handheld. Any movement or mobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
- The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable.
- Optical work and filters are forbidden.
- The film must not contain superficial action.
- Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden.
- Genre movies are not acceptable.
- The film format must be Academy 35mm.
- The director must not be credited.
Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste. I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a 'work', as I regard the instant as more important than the whole. My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations.