David Thompson


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May 09, 2008



Made me smile. :)





OT, but while I remember, you might like this. The Iron Man ‘blueprints’ title sequence, which appears at the end of the film…


Horace Dunn

A delight. Thank you, David.

On the peculiarities of memory -

Some years ago I broke my ankle and was in a plaster cast and on crutches for about two months.

While in this state I found that certain recent memories (memories of the previous year or so but BEFORE my accident) had become oddly warped. I recalled certain incidents accurately enough (I think!) except for one element – I remembered myself as walking on crutches. So occasions where I was perfectly able-bodied were recalled as if they’d happened to a man in a plaster cast. I had to remind myself that such-and-such an incident had occurred BEFORE the accident, and, therefore, “correct” the memory.

This happened several times during those months. Once the crutches were gone it never happened again. At least, I don’t recall such a thing…



There are arguments that when we remember a given event, one we’ve remembered before, we are, at least in part, remembering the last time we remembered it rather than the original, actual event. So there’s an element of elaboration and confabulation. Though I can’t think of a personal example quite as dramatic as yours, or the one above.

Horace Dunn


Yes, it's a fascinating subject. I was pleased to see this topic explored so deftly and humorously in Chris Ware's film. That our memory can be so unreliable - or downright counterfactual - could be (and often is) a source of worry. But at the same time our dodgy neurones contribute to what makes human beings so quirky and cherishable, hence Ware's film.

Your point about our remembering the memory of the event rather than the event itself is particularly apt, I think, when referring to early childhood memories. I have half a dozen (no more) vivid memories of very early life (when I was younger than four years). They are so powerful and clear that I am reluctant to disclaim them as memories, but it seems almost certain that I am merely remembering the vivid pictures conjured up in my childish brain when I was told stories of my early life by adults. It's the stuff of a thousand experimental sci-fi novels.


The other Ware animation, on the power of unreal cameras, is also worth a squint.


There’s a sort of common theme.

Horace Dunn

Yes, I went back and watched the camera film again. It's delightful, though of course much darker than the memory film. Inevitably it reminds one of "Lord of the Flies". I was also reminded of Frank Zappa's "Trouble coming every day" in which he is distressed about the seeming relish of the newsmen to report on atrocities. If memory (ha!) serves:

And if another woman driver gets machine-gunned in her seat
We'll send a joker with a brownie and you'll see it all complete


Over the years a friend of mine, Dr Westerhaus, has led me to believe there’s a Zappa quote for almost every eventuality. I have nightmares about it.

[ Reaches for medication. Begins to twitch alarmingly ]

Horace Dunn


I shouldn't worry about it. Your friend Dr W is probably right that there is an FZ quote for every eventuality. It doesn't necessarily follow that the quotations in question deserve serious attention. There is one FZ statement, though, that I have always relished (apart from the famous one about pop music journalists which holds true in almost all circumstances). This was from a documentary about Zappa made shortly before he died. Zappa was in the Czech Republic at Havel's invitation. There was some footage of a public meeting, and the camera found out Zappa sitting in the audience. He looked up into the camera and said, with that insouciant truculence that characterised him "we have come here to watch communism die". I think that a lot of us cold war babies vibrated in tune to that.


“We have come here to watch communism die.”

Kudos to Mr Z. He also pointed out the following:

“In every language, the first word after ‘Mama!’ that every kid learns to say is ‘Mine!’ A system that doesn't allow ownership, that doesn't allow you to say ‘Mine!’ when you grow up, has - to put it mildly - a fatal design flaw.”

Some music, perhaps. http://fp.ignatz.plus.com/teendirt.mp3

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