Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives: the time one climbed the Parthenon at sunrise, the summer night one met a lonely girl in Central Park, and achieved with her a sweet and natural relationship, as they say in books. I too once met a girl in Central Park, but it is not much to remember. What I remember is the time John Wayne killed three men with a carbine as he was falling to the dusty street in Stagecoach, and the time the kitten found Orson Wells in the doorway in The Third Man. – Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
I’m a writer. I also teach. My favourite adjective is “unabashed”. My favourite quote from a student is: “I’m trying to f—ing learn here!” I came into teaching after doing many other jobs: office stuff, mainly. If it involved a desk, that was me. I worked nights as an usher at an art-house cinema for years. That’s where I really discovered film.
I remember seeing a re-release of Touch of Evil at a suggestible moment, and I’ve always secretly aspired to Marlene Dietrich’s eulogy for Orson Welles: “He was some kind of man.” To quote Marlene again: “What does it matter what you say about people?”
I could tell you that, when I was eight, I wanted Bill Murray’s “haircut” from Ghostbusters, and that it took me until my teens to realise he was going bald. I could tell you that I hum the theme-tune from Brazil in moments of stress. Or I could tell you that I’ve memorized Woody Allen’s closing monologue from Annie Hall. But really, what does it matter? What I should tell you is that I love movies. I’ve been going to the cinema weekly since I could walk.
The first time I read a Roger Ebert review, it changed my world. Ebert’s dictum, “a movie is not about what it’s about, but how it’s about it” is the best summary of how to look at film that I’ve ever read. I like any kind of movie, as long it’s made with daring.
I’m 34 years old. My name is James Tatham.
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING LATELY
“Life without anything to read is dangerous” – Michel Houellebecq