…I never heard of him (though I’m sure Caleb knows his music).. I was just browsing the music documentary section on Netflix, thinking of re-viewing that great Doors film made only two years ago…then stopped for some damned reason on this flick called “Scott Walker: 30th Century Man.” Just a photo — on the movie poster or DVD cover or whatever image they used — of some typically sixties-looking, kid alone in a studio, typical pop-star good looks, but wearing sunglasses, inside. Not the kind of stuff that would interest me. Then read the description of the film, which was produced by David Bowie. This guy was apparently a serious, innovative singer/song-writer-musician who influenced Bowie, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Radiohead etc. Though no one had seen him since that photo, taken in 1967. He “went into seclusion,” something a bit weird for a relatively unknown musician, rarely releasing new music, but apparently when he did, his audience, mostly other musicians, would be blown away.
So I decided to give it a try. Freaked out to see the opening shot was a statue of Orpheus, considering all that I’d been thinking and reading about recently, particularly the journey to the underworld/darkness in search of the lost beloved, a la CAMILLE, then ascent to life (albeit sans beloved). Whole Graves theme of the singer-magician plus the Ultimate theme of Life-Death-Love (and mourning the dead lover). Begins with this strange voice singing a rather mournful sounding tune called, of course, ORPHEUS.
Then the narrator narrating some Orpheus 101 stuff and voices, I assume, of Bowie and the other musicians to appear in the film wondering what the hell happened to this guy, what did he look like, “was he still cute?” asked a female voice, etc. then cut to a still of a much older man — most certainly not still cute — balding, wearing sunglasses, i.e. some photographer took him somewhere by surprise.
More stuff about the Orpheus theme and this guy Walker’s metaphorical descent into the underworld of obscurity just before he was certainly gonna “hit it big.” Then cut to Bowie being interviewed — age 65 or something and STILL cute — saying something to the effect that he really knows nothing about this guy but the small amount of music he released, which influenced Bowie and his colleagues immensely.
Cut to the record shop of an English collector of albums, singles, magazines, PR photos of all sorts of musicians who are either valuable because famous and his stuff is hard to find, or valuable because they are not famous and their stuff is even harder to find.
The collector sorts through his Scott Walker memorabilia, explaining that Walker was in a Monkeys-type kiddie-pop-star “boy band” in the early sixties and before that, a kind of teen idol — in England at least — on his own.
But “Walker” is not his real name, nor the name he used early in his career. He shows the camera man some photos of the kid as a real kid, some fan-mail stuff, etc. and I’m trying to see what Walker’s real name is cause even though I barely glimpsed it, certainly not enough to read — consciously at least — then zapped by sudden chill.
Finally we see the guy’s real name and I get worse than a chill. More like sheer terror (fear is cool cause it comes from the outside; terror is most un-cool cause it comes from within). Settle down. Bad coincidence at a bad, weird time. Something I ordinarily would have simple noted casually, cause unless I do an Almighty Google Search, I seldom see the name ENGEL, at least not spelled in the German EL way as opposed to the Anglo “ENGLE.” Actually only met about three ENGELS in my lifetime, though if you look for it in German, it’s quite common, obviously. Actually seldom see it even in print, except once, got this freaky thing from this family named ENGEL looking for ENGELS, trying to trace their roots or some such crap. Again, I’m just so far away from even the possibility of pretending to be willing to believe that “these things have meaning” blah blah blah (beyond the “meaning” you impose on it). But still. Spooked.
Maybe it DOES have “meaning.” It means I gotta stop watching movies and log off this account. Not the time to be spooked. Maybe get some over-the-counter goofballs (Unisom: the poor man’s Quaalude), try to sleep, then go back to “truth” accepting or whatever.
“Orpheus” of all things. In the middle of this shit. No wonder I hate TV, even if it’s on a computer — despite occasional lifts via cinema by stuff like REPO and CAMILLE…
Decided to “cowboy-up” and watch the damned thing.
After the hype and whoopla they tell us that after all these
years we’re finally gonna get to check out Walter Scott or
whatever his name is and I’m expecting something between the
Phantom of the Opera meets Glen Gould but…turns out he’s
just some regular guy — an American — who was a big teen
idol then got turned onto Classical composers and French
crooners and he’s sitting there, articulate, witty, etc.
So it wasn’t Orpheus after all; just another guy named
First Rule of Hype: Don’t believe it…Public Enemy and
Spike Lee were ahead of their time, “30th century men”…
Gotta get my head back and screwed on straight. Fucking
television, media, whatever…