February 12: the day the earth stood still

We had a power cut last night. It was like the good old days. Between 8.15 and 10 in the evening all electricity vanished from some randomly selected flats in our and other blocks in the vicinity. I was watching The Day the Earth Stood Still on the telly at the time. Keanu Reeves was an alien come down to earth to confiscate the power that the human race had misused. I don’t know what happened in the end because of the power cut, but there were intimations he might change his mind because of the attentions of Jennifer Conolley as an alluring scientist wearing lots of white lab coats and her father, the Nobel-Prize winning scientist played by (don’t laugh) John Cleese. There was one particular scene where the alien came into Cleese’s office at home (Persian rug; lots of books, a blackboard with chalk equations on it and (get this) Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the turntable; Bach’s Goldberg Variations (not the English suites or the Partitas, mind) have been the semiotic indicator of genius since Hannibal Lector). The alien was stopped in his tracks by the Bach and said (I said it before him, it was so predictable) It’s beautiful. So I had a pretty good idea he might melt and save humanity at the end of the film. This became increasingly clear when he had some face time with Jennifer Conolley’s mixed-race stepson. Keanu Reeves couldn’t standby unmoved with a mixed-race stepson. Anyway, it was a bit surprising to feel how eerie things were with no electricity for ninety minutes or so. It doesn’t take much for us to feel that our civilization is a paltry thing. I went to bed. The lights came back on about ten. By then the film was over. I reckon the alien would have melted.


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