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J G Ballard RIP

Poor old Jayge is dead, alas. I'm having another go at his biography in commemoration. It's oddly slight, as if he'd already mined his past for all the interesting bits. Did anyone else see Martin Amis on Channel 4 news last night, attempting to obituarize? I have problems taking Martin Amis seriously at the best of times (thanks in no small part to Annie Lawson's loving description of him passed out naked in a shopping trolley in The Big Girls) and his slightly rambling adoration of the Ballard wasn't helping. All of a sudden, two fat men in black, one carrying a huge doctor's bag, started walking up the street behind him. I got back from singing "kidnap Martin Amis" at the screen (and C4's brief cutaway to avoid inadvertently using uncleared physogs) to find him revealing that Ballard had written "maybe as many as eight truly excellent novels". Hmmm.

I've never been very fond of arguments about whether x is better than y, or if z is truly excellent. Ballard is a writer with faults, but I like him nevertheless. I also think he has contemporary relevance, with his distressing tales of the individual anxiously cowering under flight-paths, tormented by new and bewildering obsessions, and disappearing into the broader destruction of its surrounding environment. I always try to buy my Ballards second-hand, battered old pulp editions are my ideal favourite. Sometimes their previous owner have passed judgement on them before sending them on their way. The final sentence of my copy of The Wind from Nowhere (reputedly written in entirety in two frantic weeks) is underlined, with the pencil annotation; stupid, negates the whole book.

I wonder who has the film rights, too? Both The Drowned World and The Unlimited Dream Company would make marvellous films now the technology's there.

In other news, I have been making wedding invites, for we must be wed:

wedding photoshoot outtakes

Comments

( 10 worms — Feed the birds )
marstokyo
21st Apr, 2009 11:49 (UTC)
Oh man!!! They didn't have THAT Playmobile when Ben was little! I want it!!
cleanskies
21st Apr, 2009 15:29 (UTC)
The creature from the cute green lagoon was some sort of limited edition Halloween special, but I think that the Spaceman is pretty widely available.

They also have a big weddings range in for this year, so I don't think we're going to be the only couple with Playmobils on the cake this summer....
mockduck
21st Apr, 2009 12:14 (UTC)
Wow, that is the coooolest!
gbsteve
21st Apr, 2009 12:25 (UTC)
Some of the JGB obits have been a bit weird, hardly any mention of the SF, as if it's slightly embarrassing somehow.
cleanskies
21st Apr, 2009 15:31 (UTC)
Which is odd, because I find his non-SF to be far more embarrassing. Especially the recent stuff.
undyingking
21st Apr, 2009 13:27 (UTC)
stupid, negates the whole book
You just try keeping that wind blowing for eternity, O Critical Penciller, and then see how stupid you think it is to let it drop.

Sad to say, my annoyance with Martin Amis has reached such levels that I avoided the programme altogether, although I'm sure he must have had some interesting things to say.
cleanskies
21st Apr, 2009 15:35 (UTC)
Re: stupid, negates the whole book
> I'm sure he must have had some interesting things to say

Really, I wouldn't go that far, though he did testily correct John Snow from "Sci Fi" to "SF".
merteuil
21st Apr, 2009 14:34 (UTC)
Wonnnnndrous wedding invites! It would make my day to get one of those in the mail, instead of some creamy satiny thing.
zengineer
22nd Apr, 2009 08:02 (UTC)
My (long distant) memory of The Drowned World is that while it is terribly atmospheric it lacks the dialog, characterisation, action or plotting to make a good film. Then again I thought Crash would be unfilmable but I thought the film captured the essence of the book pretty well and wasn't too bad as a film either, though many disagreed.
cleanskies
22nd Apr, 2009 09:06 (UTC)
two words
Giant CGI crocodiles.

Giant CGI crocodiles in a huge lagoon made from the tops of drowned towerblocks, no less. The rest is details.

I'm deeply amused by the various po-faced tip-toeing around having to mention Crash. I get the impression that it wasn't a critics' favourite...
( 10 worms — Feed the birds )