Starving Hysterical Naked

Posted: Jun 20, 2005 10:38:13 PM

Golden Gate Bridge"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked"

This weekend Siobhan and I crossed into San Francisco - not one of the largest cities in the United States, but definitely one of the most charismatic. I've wanted to see San Francisco ever since I watched the Alfred Hitchcock film 'Vertigo' (still one of my all-time favourites), and so of course the first thing we did when we got into the city was to visit a site that features heavily in a key scene, and is coincidentally one of America's most famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm a film nerd, and 'Vertigo' is really a love note to the haunted San Francisco, so it was a great way to begin.

What can you say about something like this? It's huge, and it's beautiful. I remember being confused when I was a kid that it clearly wasn't golden in colour. I certainly didn't think that some day I'd be crossing that bridge, first by car, and then back again on foot, but cross we did.Palace of the Legion The awe-inspiring majesty of the two magenta towers that hold the sublime edifice up is difficult to express in words, but we managed to show our deep respect in other ways, for example by not spitting over the side at passing tour boats. Even though we really wanted to.

Like New Zealand, America has a dearth of old ruins and old museums overflowing with antiquities when compared to Europe and Asia, but there are pleasant surprises around nonetheless. This old building is known as the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and it has an impressive collection of art and artefacts. It was also another key landmark in 'Vertigo', although I forgot to bring some flowers while I looked at the paintings.Edward Young first ed I was particularly delighted to see a first edition of Edward Young's 'Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality', illustrated by William Blake no less. The first reviews were terrible and nearly ruined Blake's career, but 'Night Thoughts' gave us the phrase "procrastination is the thief of time", as well as the less famous but more graceful "be wise today, 'tis madness to defer". I have that saying on my wall at home. What can I say? I'm a book nerd too.

Speaking of which, we also made a detour to the City Lights bookstore, the famous site that first published and sold Allen Ginsberg's riotous Beat poem 'Howl'. Doing so earned its owner an obscenity trial, but he got off and still owns the shop. That's where the quote at the top of the page came from, by the way, and the rest of the poem is just as trenchantly brilliant. Quickly in, purchased a hardcover copy of the poem to go with my copy of Anne Frank's diary (purchased in Anne Frank's house), and off again. Not my fault! Book nerd!Ruin of the Palace of Fine Arts

It is a curious fact that even though Britain has some beautiful ruins, over the last few hundred years architects have been employed to create artificial ruins, specifically designed to enhance the picturesque value of an estate. There's something quintessentially silly about that, hence their name: follies. In San Francisco they do nothing so frivolous, but for an expo in 1915 they created a set of faux-Roman buildings known as the Palace of Fine Arts; they soar over an artificial lake and are truly beautiful. They were, however, made of stucco, and by the 60s were falling apart, so they tore them down and resurrected them in concrete. So not only is this a fake ruin, it's a reproduction of a fake ruin. Despite that it remains quietly, solemnly, absolutely beautiful.

And it appears in 'Vertigo'. Film nerd. Me.


Comments:

FraZ   Jun 21, 2005 1:00:21 AM

2 in a row. skills

$15|<4   Jun 21, 2005 10:32:08 AM

nice work there Fry
ohoh Damon did you buy a replicar of the reproduction of the reincarnated ruin?

MumE   Jun 21, 2005 10:48:03 AM

Hay Day Have you got news about the Lions tour in NZ?
Guess U know the Maori All blacks beat the British and Irish Lions last week.
We are waiting till 11.00pm tonight to see how Southland fare against the Lions.
Mo Fraz and the boys have gone to the movies tonight.
You havn't replied to my e-mail, did you receive it?
Did you know Mo got his restricted driving licence yesterday,20/6/05. Also Uncle Errol's B'day.
Kerry is in hospital having more radiography, looks pretty serious as he has lost 2 stone since treatment began. OK gotta go. Please e-mail me so-as to avoid all this news on your report.
Ta Ma.

Mo Jo   Jun 22, 2005 7:23:51 AM

Yay for me. Better late than never huh.

Good to hear you've begun to 'see the sites' as it were.

Keep up the good work.

Mo Jo   Jun 24, 2005 12:37:48 PM

Ha. Erm. I think that should be 'see the sights' rather than 'see the sites'. :)

Damon   Jun 24, 2005 4:32:41 PM

Oh, good work Mo! Now you can drive me to and fro. Bro.

And sorry, l33t sister, but I didn't. Next report I'll tell you what I *did* buy, however.

fraZ   Jun 25, 2005 3:17:53 PM

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3325 869a13477,00.html

strangeshe   Jun 25, 2005 11:53:17 PM

Awesome pix, Damon. I am so jealous. :)

Thoughts of the SF sights have prompted odd memories. Have been trying to recall what is a very vaguish memory about pirates and San Francisco and lost treasure and the like. I'm lazy or I'd google it.

MumE   Jun 26, 2005 10:03:54 AM

Hat Pins! Have you seen any interesing Hat Pins Damon? Like in Red Hats for example?
Just thought I'd ask, cos I'd like some ......... Hat Pins that is.
Looking forward to your report due tomorrow 27th June or will that be Tuesday 28th here?
To celebrate Siska's 24th birthday we've just enjoyed a Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner here with all the trimmings and Pavlova and Trifle for dessert, I would save some for you but it sounds like you are full of burgers and fries.
OK catch ya later
Arohanui MumE

l33t 51574's 4u584nd   Jun 26, 2005 10:47:59 PM

thats odd.
I haven't heard "procrastination is the thief of time" before, but I have heard the less famous "be wise today, 'tis madness to defer". I guess its my friends suggesting something.

so why was it called golden gate bridge? Allthough, Magenta Gate Bridge does have a nice tone to it.


Damon   Jun 27, 2005 6:23:35 AM

It was called the Golden Gate Bridge because it was funded by McDonalds. This was before they got into arches instead, a period best characterized by the Pont du Gard du Hamburglar.

And happy birthday Siska! Dinner sounded really nice, I hope you had a great day.

New report tomorrow - San Francisco, part two.


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