Neo-noir and erotic thriller. In the neo-noir, everybody has a clear role, a face to wear. The antihero, femme fatal, hapless best friend, victim – all ensnared in a desperate situation, navigating bankrupt morality. For me, it started with Polanski’s China Town, then came Eyes Wide Shut, Lost Highway, Body Heat… In time, I found myself descending into fog. Brian De Palma took me by the hand into Body Double, Dressed to Kill… And then in a dry gasp, I find myself catching a whiff of Alice Harford’s exquisite perfume on Catherine Tramell; the lines between Steven Taylor and Nicholas Van Orton muddying; and Bergman’s Persona blurring with Lynch’s Mulholland Drive… Fleeting moments from the masterpieces are somehow evoked in the lesser films as they mix together, fashioning a strangely pleasant neural stew.
The Divided Self (R.D. Laing 1960). It’s extraordinary to think that Laing penned The Divided Self in 1960, the work significantly predates the notion of person-centred care in psychiatry. It’s a beautiful book that moves deftly between philosophy, sharp clinical observation and poetry. It’s here that Laing first posited the notion of False Selves. I first encountered The Divided Self as a Psychology undergraduate student. Shortly after I read it, my housemate developed schizophrenia; I decided not to pursue a career as a Psychologist.
Travel. When we travel, it’s almost irresistible to step ahead, virtually walk the streets or learn from traveller who has predated us about how a particular hotel in Japan folds a paper crane on your pillow. I seldom really travel.