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Fear and Loathing in Canterbury

May 12, 2016

Posted this two years ago. Does not seem less relevant.



Just come back from Canterbury.  I was giving a keynote lecture at a conference on Fear and Loathing.  Canterbury is of course a very pretty place, which only goes to make Fear and Loathing all the more uncanny and strangely threatening.

On my way to Canterbury I find myself thinking about Geoffrey Chaucer and Michael Powell.  The Powell-Pressburger movie A Canterbury Tale is of course marvelous – an intoxicating fantasy made by some of the most sublime fantasists ever to explore and exploit the medium of film.  I tried to see the city through Powell’s sense of Chaucer’s eyes and then arrived in there to find news of a big UKIP surge in the city and the county.

Saddened, I remembered another quote from Michael Powell, used to introduce screenings of Life and Death of Colonel Blimp:

‘It’s a 100% British film… it’s photographed by a Frenchman, it’s written…

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