Saturday, June 06, 2009

The New Pearl Harbor

David Ray Griffin's 'The New Pearl Harbor' and 'The New Pearl Harbor Revisited' are shocking books.

I found the books shocking not because I didn't know the events of 9/11 described in them, but because I did. I knew what happened, but I hadn't thought through just how bizarre some of the things that occurred that day were, and what the implications might be. I accepted what I was told too easily. Didn't question enough what I was not being told. Didn't want to think about the horrific images. Got tired of waiting for the official reports. Relied on journalists to investigate. Failed to notice that the phrase 'conspiracy theory' was being used to suggest that conspiracies never happen. Above all I'm shocked to realise how incompetently done a conspiracy can be and still succeed.

Some of the most inexplicable events of the 11th of September 2001

  • Several civil aircraft are hijacked and flown off-course, and no military aircraft intercept any of them.
  • The President is informed the country is 'under attack' but is not rushed immediately to a secure location.
  • The President later speaks of having seen the first aircraft hit the World Trade Centre live on TV on 9/11, although footage of this was not broadcast until the next day.
  • A hijacked aircraft is able to fly to the Pentagon without interception more than half an hour after the attacks on the World Trade Centre.
  • Two steel-framed buildings collapse at virtually free-fall speed due to fires that burn for less than two hours.
  • A third steel-framed building collapses at virtually free fall speed due to fire later the same day. The third in history ever to do so.
  • The BBC reports the collapse of this building more than twenty minutes before it happens.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Last Cigarette - Chichester

I'm not sure that a stage version of The Last Cigarette really works, except to draw attention to the diaries themselves.

Sadly I found Felicity Kendall - although delightful - was a major distraction from the grumpy, cantankerous, decidedly not always delightful Mr Simon Gray. His voice did come through clearly in some parts and those were by far the best. At other times he seemed to be lost somewhere in between the three actors portraying him. Another distraction was the problem of having three actors on stage with very little to do except deliver dialogue. Elaborate moving around of chairs and almost-lighting of cigarettes only drew attention to this. The one point at which there is some real action - when Simon turns on himself violently after getting his diagnosis - had all the more impact as a result.

For a work that so directly confronts the issue of death the ending was oddly vague. Inevitably the diaries themselves couldn't provide any sort of closure here but a play could have. I especially regretted that the two major ironies of Simon Gray's life; that his fame most likely will rest on his diaries rather than on the plays he felt were his life's main work, and that he did not, in fact, die of the lung cancer that appeared to be his inevitable fate but of another illness altogether, were not alluded to at all.

To provide that much of a step back from the content of the diaries themselves might have given more of a context to this life story. As it was I was left remembering the last play I saw at Chichester, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and the Father's insistance that, because of their context within the structure of a play, characters have a more immutable reality than real people and real lives do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Idea for a story No.452

Maybe we live to sleep each night and dream, and when we die we spend eternity in the dream world we have built.

Why write?

To find out
what you would write
if you did.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I went on a visit to the cinema that made me feel old. I remember Richard Nixon and the young David Frost, although I don't remember either one being as likeable and sympathetic as they are portrayed in this film. Maybe that's what makes it good? That it successfully calls for empathy with a couple of closed off, self-sufficient characters. It still seems to me that Nixon was the one really in control and admitted not a single thing more than he wanted to admit.