Something I’ve noticed lately: somewhere along the way, memory as an artistic device is on the rise. Not long ago, I interviewed Chris Eaton about his novel The Grammar Architect, a reimagining of Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes. Here’s his take on the relationship between Hardy’s novel and his own:
I took notes as I read it the first time, but then didn’t really go back to it. In fact, I don’t even own a copy. I used the one at the library of Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick.
Daphne reminded me that Eric Weisbard had taken a similar approach to his contribution to the 33 1/3 series; much of his book on Use Your Illusion I & II is a meditation on both albums and how he remembers them. Dirty Projectors’ upcoming Rise Above is a from-memory re-creation of Black Flag’s Damaged; the album has a hazy feel through it whatsoever, evoking the inconsistencies of memory through style and production.
And now, there’s Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, a film about re-creating half-remembered movies. (Note Jack Black’s delivery of the Ghostbusters theme; now, put it on a mixtape beside the Dirty Projectors’ version of “No More”). A little more of this and we may have a genuine movement on our hands…