… “Stratford Strange Day!”
“I don’t know what you mean?”
“Well, the first thing was our conversation before we’d even properly decided we were going to Stratford…”
“Oh, that one. It didn’t strike me as particularly strange.”
“Except we both decided that we were not fans of statutory, and then spent most of our day in Stratford taking pictures of… statues!”
“There were mitigating factors for that.”
“Undoubtedly, still a bit odd though. I spent a year living in Stratford without giving the monument so much as a passing glance.”
“There were probably mitigating factors for that too.”
“I expect so, having to read three of his plays a term-week for a year does not endear one to the Bard!”
“And reading a play is not like seeing a play performed.”
“Indeed, reading a play is like reading the screenplay of a film and then claiming you’ve seen it.”
“And who ever reads the screenplay of a film?”
“The actors, the director, and the cameraman.”
“Plus the money men…”
“Who probably only read the beginning and the end.”
“If that, which reminds me, there are a couple of filmic moments which elucidate ‘Stratford-Strange’.”
“I’m all ears…”
…”My first ‘movie memory’ is from the film, The Matrix.
Neo has swallowed the red pill and been unplugged from the system.
Having spent some time acclimatising to the real world, he is finally allowed to re-enter the matrix on a mission, to meet with ‘the oracle’ if memory serves, along with most of the other escapees.
As they drive down the road in a suburb of his ‘old patch’, Neo sees a burger bar that he used to frequent…”
“I know the clip you are referring to. The ‘prisoners’ still held captive within the matrix appear to move more slowly than the escapees. They are sleepwalking through their existence. I think that in this case it seemed like that in Stratford because we were there with a purpose, when most others were merely holidaying tourists or pleasure seeking. We had a job to do and were doing it even though it was also pleasurable for us too!”
“No, it was not just that, even though what you say is perfectly true, and was undoubtedly a big part of it. There was something else…”
“And your second ‘movie memory’?…”
“…Comes from the film, The Man Who Wasn’t There.
Our hero has been inadvertently involved in the murder of his wife’s lover.
All the other accessories to the crime, including his wife, are now also dead, and a private eye his hot on his tail.
‘The man who wasn’t there’, is watching the private eye walk through city crowds in the rain.
It is unclear from the perspective just how and from where ‘the man who wasn’t there’ is observing the private eye.
The crowds are moving faster than the private eye, and the rain, and the voice over of ‘the man who wasn’t there’ is referencing ghosts…”
“I am not familiar with that particular film but the sense of ghostly presence invoked by your description certainly strikes a chord. Not so much in the Black Swan, perhaps, but certainly at the market stalls, and also at the monument, it was like people were looking but not seeing us.”
“It is not the first time that sort of thing has happened.”…
… “I suppose, Carbrook Hall ‘took the biscuit’ in that respect.”
“Yes, it’s one thing to be ignored by a bar-tender at a bar but not to be seen at all!”
“And all the while I was snapping away, being not inconspicuous, in a less than full drinking establishment. At Haddon Hall we managed to completely clear an otherwise packed living room, so that you could sit in front of the fire.”
“That place did feel homely!”
“And at Barbrook, in the sun, we walked a landscape that nobody else could see…”
“And then tried to point it all out to another group who also couldn’t see it!”
“There is, though, I think, a link with these experiences.”
“I know, they’re all old places.”
“It’s a phenomenon known as ‘time-bleed’,” announced a third, somewhat gravelly voice, and we both turned our heads sharpley to watch, intrigued, as the light strewn figure drifted across the room towards us…