Observations: Look right into the Glass house
Friday 18 September 2009
There are numerous insights to be gleaned from watching Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, Scott Hicks' 2007 documentary about the American composer which has recently received a UK DVD release. For the film, Hicks spent a year with Glass, documenting his exceptional work-rate and offering an intimate portrait of his home life.
Chief among the insights is that you can subject an acclaimed artist to the sort of intrusion only the most desperate D-list celebrity would normally endure if it comes with a healthy amount of hagiography (see also Wrestling with Angels, Frieda Lee Mock's documentary about Tony Kushner). Plus, when people moan about all those Hollywood soundtracks Glass knocks out, you can point to the large beach-side property he keeps as a second home in Nova Scotia, where he spends much of the film in residence – complete, you are told, with 11 extra cabins for guests to stay in.
There, you'll see that Glass makes a pretty good pizza. You can learn, too, what the password to Glass's computer is: during a poignant moment in the film, his then-wife Holly is speaking to the camera, explaining tearfully that she and Philip are drifting apart and about to break up, only for Glass, with uncharacteristic bad timing, to burst into the room to ask her for said password.
But most pertinently perhaps, you might notice that there is a whole untapped well of high-brow knock-knock jokes out there. At one point, the artist Chuck Close, a close friend of Glass, tells such a joke playing on the repetitive nature of the composer's music, "the endless scroll" as The New Yorker elegantly put it.
It goes like this: "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Phil Glass." This led me to create my own variation – "appropriating" as they might say in arthouse circles – for another minimalist music maestro. Here it is:
"Knock knock knock knockknockknockknockknocknocknocknockknock" "Who's there?" "Steve Reich." I also thought of one for John Cage but it's a bit long and laboured and mainly involves stage directions – also the ratio of explanation to joke is about 4:1, rendering it more of a conversation piece than an actual joke. There are surely plenty more out there; send your suggestions to email@example.com.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Meet the contestants
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Doctor Who series 8: Ofcom will not investigate lesbian kiss
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >