Posts from 13th January 2011

13
Jan 11

NARNIA WEEK: HEAVEN, heaven is a place, a place where NOTHING, nothing ever happens

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The depiction of paradise is as bold as it’s tricky — which is why it’s so rarely undertaken, obviously. There’s Dante, who made it the setting for the last and weakest book in his sword-and-sorcery trilogy. Powell and Pressburger? Hirokazu Kore eda? Tim Burton? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Purgatory’s much easier to realise.

Anyway the fact that CSL attempts it all is one of the three reasons I like The Last Battle. The second is that he makes a tremendous effort to portray how grisly and dispiriting and plain horrible war is: confusing and futile and full of petty treacheries and selfishness and meanness, and exhausting. It is not the jolly jape he slide towards elsewhere (this isn’t entirely fair: the battle in LWW has a memorable nastiness to it…); it’s a sketch of the feel of utter defeat, as felt by basically nice people, and — as so often — he’s very good at intensity of atmosphere and physically memorable (because palpable) imagery. And the third…

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NARNIA WEEK / The FT Top 100 Songs: 12: MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

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It is serendipitous (in the non Cusack / Beckinsale way) that U Can’t Touch This has turned up in the dying throes of Narnia week. Because MC Hammer’s most well known hit has a surprisingly large number of parallels with the Narnia sequence. Whilst people have seen religious metaphors all over CS Lewis’s fantasy kidlit, well the same it true of this 1990 reworking of Rick James’s Super Freak. Indeed you could say the relationship between the Bible, made of the Old and New Testament is similar to the addition of Hammer’s rap to James’s iconic riff to make You Can’t Touch This. Consider the Old Testament sex and temptation in Super Freak, to the New Testament pacifism and turning the other cheek of Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em. Indeed the Gospel According To Hammer is all about not hurting anyone, but just good baggy panted fun.

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