Sliding Down The Surface of Things

The four members of U2 go into the big room, pick up their instruments, and start playing. Producer Brian Eno stands near them swigging Elixir Vitae. The song they are working on is called (at least for today) "Big City, Bright Lights." As they jam on it, Bono makes up lyrics about coffee stains, ghosts, streets.

At the mixing console in the control room a little red light goes off in the head of the man called Flood, another producer of this project.
Streets is one of the words on Flood's lists of forbidden rock cliches, along with, for example, night, magic and secret. Flood figures fresh thinking starts with the little things.

-- From Bill Flanagan's essential book on the band, U2 At The End Of The World

Imaginary assignments, based on Floodology:

--Write a film paper without using the words gaze, audience, interpellation, movement, fetish, or lens. Only two genres, one historical period, and three directors can be mentioned, but you must name six key grips.

-- Write a biography of an imaginary film producer. It must consist of five discrete anecdotes, with each anecdote doubling the length of the previous one. We should get a sense of the producer's aesthetic, but none of the anecdotes can actually be about making any of the imaginary producer's films. The producer's sex life is also off-limits.

--You've discovered, at the UCLA archive, a lost film from director John Ford. Unsurprisingly, the film appears to be a western. I say "appears," because there are clearly several scenes missing from the old, battered reels: there are jumps in continuity from scene to scene, and even within scenes. John Wayne appears for a single tracking shot, dressed in a sailor's outfit, and is then replaced by Montgomery Clift, playing the same character. At one, point (this is clearly a work print), Ford storms in front of the camera, waving his well-chewed hankerchief in the air, and calling Wayne a "no-talent jock who's afraid of horses!"

The assignment: describe what you are wearing the day you discovered this film, and why.


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