Thursday, February 16, 2017

Songs About People # 302 Henry Miller

In Martin Scorsese's 1985 black comedy After Hours, anit-hero Paul is interrupted in his late night diner reading by a beautiful, kooky girl at a neighbouring table saying 'I love that book' . She then proceeds to quote from it: 'This is not a book this is a prolonged insult. A gob of spit in the face of art. A kick in the pants to truth, beauty, God. Something like that.' She goes on to invite him to come downtown to visit her in her apartment. He does so. It turns out not to be a good idea at all. 

The book he is reading is Tropic of Cancer by American novelist Henry Miller, who made his name by moving to Paris at the end of the twenties and living a life of debauched artistic libertarianism, a lifestyle he chronicled relentlessly in the books he wrote. The moral of the tale as far as the After Hours scene is concerned is probably to be wary of people too in thrall with his kind of doomed, elitist, outsider romanticism who use it to try to draw you towards them, as they're more than likely to turn out bad news. Try telling that to John E. Vistic who we're back with again. He's clearly a bit of a fan.

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