Shabcast 25 - Phil and Jack talk about High-Rise


Hello again, my fellow muggles. 

First, apologies: I wanted to provide you with some written material this week, but I was unable to get the next bits of either Psychic Landscape or Are You Sitting Comfortably? ready in time, so you're getting yet another Shabcast instead.  It's a good one though.  I'm joined by Phil again, and we chat about High-Rise, both the Ballard novel and the Wheatley/Jump movie.  In the process we veer wildly off topic at times (I can hear your gasps of surprise), touching on subjects such as Phil's upcoming Build High For Happiness project, 'Paradise Towers' (of course), The VVitch, some other movies, Stranger Things, and whether or not Robert Holmes read J. G. Ballard.

Download or listen here.  (Beware Triggers and Spoilers.)

ADDITION: I forgot to link to a couple of relevant documentaries.  I posted this one - a dated but still-excellent account of some of the hidden history of Modernism - at my own YouTube channel recently.  (I'm slowly working my way through a huge stack of old home-recorded VHS tapes.  When I encounter a good documentary that I can't find anywhere else online, I post it at my channel.)  This one is about Pruitt Igoe and that whole thing, who is mentioned by Phil during the Shabcast.  It takes a political, myth-busting look at the issue.

In other news, it's apparently Star Trek's 50th anniversary today, and so ATB Publishing are now taking pre-orders for their forthcoming collection Outside In Boldly Goes.  Every episode of original Star Trek written about by a different writer.  As you may recall, I was in the first Outside In, the one about classic Who, with a little essay about 'Snakedance' that was initially written for the fanzine Panic Moon.  This time I'm in Outside In Boldly Goes with an entirely new and original piece about the TOS series 3 episode 'Requiem for Methuselah'. 



Tom Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

Really enjoying your take on High-Rise, guys. I think I agree that in some ways the film is more successful than the book - that "falling/jumping" sequence at the centre-point of the film is gobsmackingly good, however well done the opera-box-spectators chunk in the book is. And I *certainly* agree that it makes far more of the female characters (reminding me of Harness' take on the women in Strange & Norrell in that regard): Elizabeth Moss is particularly great as Helen.

Favourite things are the aristocrat party ("who did you come as? a dilettante?"), both covers of ABBA's SOS, the falling sequence, the opening monologue, and, yes, I bloody love the Thatcher bit at the end.

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The Flan in the High Castle 4 years, 4 months ago

No strong feelings on the Portishead cover, but I was quite disappointed that Mansell's instrumental take on SOS wasn't included in the soundtrack – it's been stuck in my head for the last year. The use of an inappropriately joyous and upbeat accompaniment for the entropic violence of the party/elevator scene was straight out of Russell T Davies's playbook – it's a lot like one of the Simm Master's songs, or the Kylie scene in Cucumber, but with the resonance added by the proximity of the film's setting to the song's release. (I guess the Royal Philharmonic version will just have to do!)

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Tom Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

I quite agree! the strings version was absolutely gorgeous (though it is nice that the Portishead one is finally up on YouTube).

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Tom Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

Also I always thought it was a shame you didn't have an essay in OI: 2, Jack ! Would have been good to read you doing "Planet of the Ood", say.

I was in OIs 1 and 2 but missed the Star Trek boat.

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Anton B 4 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree regarding Moorcock probably being the author into situationism who would have clued Ballard into the Paris '68 vibes. My understanding is that Ballard rarely left Shepperton. There's an interesting take on their relationship in Moorcock's most recent (and rather odd) quasi-autobiographical novel The Whispering Swarm where, strangely since he freely names other authors, he renames him Jack Allard.

Thanks for the tip regarding the John Higgs book. Loved his KLF book so I instantly bought it on Kindle.

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