Big, black bars at the top and bottom of a TV screen mean that a movie is ultra brutal and only for grown-ups. At least, this is what my little child brain somehow convinced itself was the case. Back when TV sets still had an aspect ratio of 4:3, and there still were TV sets, the wider a movie’s aspect ratio was in the cinema, the bigger the black bars had to be to fit the picture on the TV screen without losing picture information.
I watched a shapely blonde undress down to her too-large-for-today underwear and fell in love with an old, fat, British dude.
I do not remember how old I was when I first watched Psycho, I only know I was in my teens and probably not mature enough in my tastes to be able to appreciate it on all its levels. But luckily for me, my tastes still knew what they liked and what they did not. Me being forced to peep on Marion Crane like Norman Bates later would, found itself among the former. The story continued to unfold and I was hooked until the very end and Norman’s skull-like grin. I would say “no small feat for a decades old black-and-white movie” but my unsophisticated tasted were diverse and old-fashioned even back then.
I think I finally understand Kafka. I first encountered him, like so many others, in school, something that does not really make any sense when you stop to think about it. Show me a 14 year old who can appreciate the trials of Josef K in The Trial and I show you a 14 year old who has worse problems than getting their literary canon in order. It is old, it is stuffy, and teenagers, as a rule, cannot identify with Josef K. They do not get how much they should be able to, with their pubertary experiences and the fact that they cannot really talk to any figure of authority to help them with their predicaments. They usually are way too pragmatic and dismissive about it. “That’s, like, sooo stupid. Why doesn’t he just, like, go see the judge or something.” They do not get why K cannot just, like, go to a judge or something. The social behaviours expected of a person and how difficult, if not downright impossible it is for people to break them. Who is to say whether it is the less rigid social norms and structures, the fact that culture nowadays usually focuses more on the individual that the group, Kafka’s story dealing with a big, faceless, inhuman bureaucracy instead of everyday life, or simply that teenagers are incredibly self-absorbed and always have been.
A nice little table on a nice, quiet street just outside a bistro/bar that is a tiny bit less trendy than it fancies itself; a chilled glass of white wine; a nice, strong pipe and a great person sitting opposite. Watching people. Chatting. Laughing. The picture practically paints itself.
I can’t use the bathroom when I am wearing a jacket. Anatomically, physically, whatever, it is just not possible to sit down and let loose without making a mess, which is why it is so great that there are hooks in the stalls of most public rest rooms. Hooks are great in many other ways, too, of course. You can put a spare backback on one or hang an umbrella from it while you don’t need it. Or even a shirt, should you so desire and need to take yours off. Do you know what you need for that? Your shirt and a hook. You take your shirt off and put it on the hook, just benath the collar! Bada-bing, bada-bang, bada-boom! Do you want to know what you do not need to do that?