22 February 2013
Excuse my happiness. Yesterday I decided to take a stroll and I found myself walking alongside Kirk Douglas. It generally takes me 4 seconds to feel disturbingly ridiculous, but yesterday I broke my own record. Overcome by an indescribably modest humility, I suddenly felt like the fat half of a pair of bow-legged twins. I froze, my eyes welled-up, my feet sank into imaginary mud. Only Kirk Douglas could reduce me to such an irrational fear of breathing, but here it was. It was one of those very silly moments where we act on the second instinct whilst ignoring the first instinct, and of course, the second instinct always warns us to "do nothing." Too incurably demented to tap his shoulder and pledge eternal thanks and servitude, I stood and I watched as my hero walked away.
I am not alone in knowing how constantly robbed Kirk Douglas was of that voodoo doll known as the 'Oscar'. Yes, he was given obligatory recognition once the best years of his career had wound down, but his magnetic force and colossal onscreen assurance in Two weeks in another town, Lonely are the brave and The bad and the beautiful still stand as the best screen acting yet produced, in years when the Oscars, as usual, were awarded instead to the blandly servile. If you haven't yet seen the above three films then your life is nothing. In his prime, Kirk Douglas was far too sexually disagreeable, and represented the soul of the world far too accurately. It was a self-realization that cannot be manufactured - or even found for a second time, because its poetry is built on a very particular time and space - one that doesn't return. In fact, Kirk Douglas sometimes didn't act at all - he simply observed and played with those around him (the hardest trick of all.) If male desire is tension, then Kirk Douglas had this more than any other screen star - yes, King Kong included.
Last night I went to bed exhausted. But I couldn't sleep.
22 February 2013