Friday, 26 August 2016
Real to Reel - from 1655 to Jerry Bruckheimer
Since "Roger and me" Micheal Moore has continually chronicled the decline of Flint. He did this with some of his "TV Nation" series and almost every chance is seized with "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Bowling for Columbine". In the "Fahrenheit......" Documentary he tells us that Flint provides a huge, per-capita proportion of Soldiers for the Army. How it isn't difficult when life in the Army is probably better than it is at home. It's 2004 and everyone goes gooey at "Return of the King" - then he shows you streets of Houses - detached, huge Gardens, but boarded up and empty. Not exactly Middle Earth according to Mr Jackson huh! That even though Flint provides those Troops it is still left out and left behind. A potent message to anyone who expects things from People, but there is a deficit in their and your lives.
How many of those Flint Soldiers try and stay in the Army as long as they can because life is better? Better pay, some guarantees of living conditions - the means to support a Family. This applies to anyone who finds things always seem to be better somewhere else than they might be here. As long ago as 1987 I wasn't hugely enthused about coming home after a Course in Scotland, it's the same when I might have stayed with Friends, certainly was at the end of our Campaign in Wales (which started in Flintshire) - and even though I have Reservations about an itinerant Fund raising job in 2005 I was gutted when it ended and I was having to come back here. Flint could be a Town, it could be someone - anywhere, but there is something wrong with either if the same applies.
The name Flint continues something that also involved someone called Gore, so the Micheal Moore agenda seems to be about confronting what afflicts one parabling another!
Meanwhile, I was presented with a JFK scenario today Kennedy's analysis of Vietnam was that it was "their War, they can win it or lose it", but he was reluctant to get involved. After all, as the final analysis given by Robert McNamara concedes in "Fog of War" - it was a War of Independence, one the Vietnamese had fought for a Millennium - so why did America get lumped in with China and France as their colonial Enemies? That Ho Chi Minh was a Nationalist who happened to be a Communist, whose War could have been fought as a Liberal or Conservative. First and foremost he was a Vietnamese, and the Conflict had nothing to do with the supposed Communist Domino theory.
That, to use a Bruckheimer analogy, anyone expecting some of us to fight yet another Campaign is rather like Honourious asking those Wodes to defend his Villa against the imminent Saxon onslaught. It was bad enough Germanus attaching yet another Caveat to Arthur's Men's Freedom before the end of their Military Service, while both they and the Wodes see those Wagons filled with Loot heading for Ravenna neither will enjoy. The Men - who fought for 15 years to ensure it in Honourious's possession, the Wodes from whom it came. Maybe Honourious ought to have treated them better huh! A potent comment to anyone who has expected same from People who have had to see them depart with the Loot so to speak, or stash it in their 'Villas'. Hmm, how many times has that happened? I also think that Bors throwing those Papers back at Germanus was as much an expression of Bruckheimers Jewishness in the context of something else, in a Film where he gets a certain Film-maker to direct a Movie about Camelot.
This is where Flint, Wales, Micheal Moore's continuing portrayal of Flint, Michigan's Plight, and something else are linked.
In 1968, something happened in Bristol, England and Cardiff Wales. It was the establishment of a TV Company that derived its Name from its Founder - Lord Ormsby-Gore of Harlech, but it doesn't end (or begin) there. Years earlier, his Father - William Ormsby-Gore, as Colonial Secretary - had his Meetings with David Ben Gurion about the prospective establishment of a Jewish Homeland to complete the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This - as People know - eventually happened in 1948. William Ormsby-Gore wasn't just a Politician, he was also Chairman of Midland Bank - PLC, now known as HSBC. His equivalent today is also a man called Flint - Douglas Flint! The question here, in the context of "Roger and me's" Tale of the General Motors CEO closing everything and departing Flint with the Proceeds, Honorious trying to do the same, an anti-poverty campaign that started in Flintshire, Wales, and someone who was doing it - how many People have done something similar in this that Flint - Michigan - becomes an appropriate analogy?
Thus, this - erm - 'Middle Earth' isn't quite as twee as "Lord of the rings" might suggest!
Jerry Bruckheimer gives Antoine Fuqua the chance to make a Film about Camelot, Ormsby-Gore gives 'Marc Anthony' and 'Cleopatra' that to make TV Programs. This was when Lord Harlech appoints Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on the Board of Directors of HTV.
While Honorious tries to do what Roger Smith did - take the Money and run, Germanus gives those Knights those Papers - which Bors throws back at him. In 1982 Robert de Niro appeared as David 'Noodles' Aaronson in Sergio Leones "Once upon a time in America". Here we see him, Cockeye, Max and Patsy accrue rather a lot of Money in their myriad Activities. They keep this in a Railway Station Locker and it is meant to be split between them. There's a Scene where he goes to it - only to find that the Proceeds from all that work have become nothing but Newspapers. He looks both perplexed and disappointed - then goes off into a 30 Year exile in Buffalo. Considering the main Characters in the Film are Jewish the disappointment at finding the 'Paperwork' is quite understandable in the context of the above. All that - for this??????
Heck, he even saved Fat Moe's Life that time!
While Peter Jackson made and showed his Films they were made by a Subsidiary of Warner Brothers - New Line Cinema. When Warner - or WEA - was incorporated in 1928 it was so with a Loan from Harry Warner's Financier called - wait for it - Motley Flint. In this Process they needed a distribution Network - which they acquired by purchasing the Vitagraph Film Company, based in - wait for it again - Nassau Street, - New York. So, it seems there's a 'Pirate' Origin in this Story - linked with the Carribean Island that became synonymous with the Trade in the late 17th-early18th Centuries.and immortalised in the TV series "Black Sails".
The show is set 20 years before a much loved and very famous Story - "Treasure Island".but Fact or Fiction, Pirates came from somewhere.
That Somewhere was 1654 when Ships led by Commonwealth General at Sea - William Penn senior sailed for the Caribbean to capture Hispaniola from the Spanish. When it was realized that the Island was too heavily defended to defeat they opted for Jamaica, which they captured in 1655. Port Royal became its Capital and Jamaica became a Haven for Pirates and Privateers - the latter operating as 'legit' Pirates - raiding Ships of any enemy Country - licensed with a Letter of Mark from the British Government. One of these was Henry - later Sir Henry - Morgan - who left Wales as an indentured Man serving in William Penns Navy.
History gives us an Irony because of this........
William Penn was a Contemporary and professional Associate of another General at Sea - the Father of the modern Navy - Admiral Robert Blake. After Pirates had abandoned Jamaica - where their Trade had been made illegal they made for New Providence - whose Capital is Nassau. People visiting it now - with its expensive Hotels and Tourism - might find it hard to believe but it was once home to all sorts of Sea borne Vagabonds - one of whom was Edward Teach. Teach, or Thatch - and even Drummond - left Bristol, England, making for there and worked for Benjamin Hornigold for a while before becoming - erm - freelance - so to speak. He then became the notorious Pirate everyone knew and feared. (he even had a real life Israel Hands in his Crew - suggesting Robert Stephenson's Book isn't entirely fictional). In 1718 he was tracked down off the Coast of North Carolina by Royal Navy Lieutenant - Robert Maynard - and the famous Battle ensued that ended the Career - and Life - of one of History's most notorious Pirates.
The Irony here being that both had the same Origins - 1655, while either suggest something coming from somewhere!
Meanwhile, in "Pirates of the Caribbean" "Where did you get that" someone asks in a Film. But there's more to the 'that' than a Gold Pendant, while it's a Question that could also be asked of a few other People. Governor Swann is only Governor of Port Royal Jamaica because someone captured the Island and made it a British Colony. In Shipwreck Cove - an ominous name considering a Film made in 1980 featuring someone else called Blake ("The Fog"), and a remake in 2005, we see the Brethren Court and that Book of Pirate Law - kept by Captain Teague (Kieth Richards), so while Jack could ask Elizabeth about that Pendant someone could ask him - or those Pirates - where they got that Book from! How did Shipwreck Cove be so named, and Morgan might just have been Henry No-Bloke - who fought and maybe died as a Soldier in whichever Uncles army he joined during one of the English Civil Wars had it not been for those Generals at Sea!
"Pirates, yes they rob I" Bob Marley sang in his "Redemption Song" and while Flint, Michigan starts to resemble Trenchtown, Jamaica - a Documentary about Reggae and Rastafarianism features a couple of Rastas showing the Film Maker the Venues synonymous with Marley and the Music. One of which - in a chronic state of dereliction - was called The Ambassador, and one of the Guides scathingly says how it has become a dumping ground for every-ones Rubbish - the Throwaways - everything else going elsewhere. Combine this with those Recruits from Flint, Michigan - whose City starts to resemble the Kingstown District, the contrast to those of whom they fight for, and there’s also an element of chronic expendability here too. There are 2 Songs with a similar Sentiment - one by Marley, the other the Hughes Corporation, both asking you not to "Rock the Boat"- ("cause I don't want my Boat to be rocking"). I was reminded of this when we see the Pirates in Davy Jones Locker - and they do just that. Both the Pearl and the Crew trapped in the Locker, either rather more substantial than a bunch of Newspapers. The thing is I subscribe to the Bob Marley Song in this context rather than the Hughes Corporation - while those Rasta's and the Documentary Film Maker probably would too! Otherwise, wouldn't we just have a continuation of the same Problem?
So, via "Treasure Island", "Black Sails" - even the incorporation of Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema, that was how we got from 1655 to Jerry Bruckheimer. The first filmed Pirate was Douglas Fairbanks ("The Black Pirate") - who ended his Career by being stabbed in the back in "The Iron Mask". Someone could ask Jack Sparrow - or even Hector Barbossa - where they got the Black Pearl?
Click or paste into your Browser from here to watch "The Black Pirate" - legendary 1926 Movie...............
Or even here to see "The Iron Mask"!
Get all yer Booty here - from Commonwealth and Caribbean Collectibles to Jack Sparrows Autograph Keep to the Code and share the Booty by clicking below to Facebook, Twitter etc......
Meanwhile, here's some Food for thought - and might explain what an Area came in for some severe Criticism from Film People for a while - and still should of course.....
This is the Scene from the "At Worlds End" - and this Lad is the same Age I was when I arrived somewhere where even the Notion of Habeus Corpus doesn't even exist..... Oh, and I couldn't even vote in 1992.