Ear Movies 2015
Post-modern “Easy Rider” gets an aural overhaul, with Kevin Godley and Terence Stamp getting under the listener’s skin.
It’s a disease all right, the allure of those shiny beasts called bikes, a high-octane love affair. But if Richard La Plante’s travelogue titled “Hog Fever” was as straight as it gets for an autobiography, or as a highway to hell for that matter, this audiobook has the narrative twisted in such a frenetic way that HOG as an acronym for “Harley Owners Group” becomes an irrelevant notion. The author’s decision to involve his friend Kevin Godley – a storyteller in his own right and a master of collage, musical and visual, if 10CC’s “Une Nuit A Paris” or The Fabs’ “Real Love” are anything to go by – proved to be brilliant because it turned a “weekend warrior” saga into a psychotic thriller. Now, a motley line-up of quirky characters – first of all the protagonist Robert Lourdes, an American writer living in the U.K. and played by La Plante himself – get embroiled in a strings of accidents so weird, a specialist is required to reach the core meaning of it all.
Cue The Shrink, brought to life with the boom of Terence Stamp’s voice, who – with no wheels attached – basically drives the account in and out of this entanglement of lust, dust and murder, the latter probably as imaginary as a farting dog, a soul more sympathetic towards Lourdes than his script-stealing wife, although you never can tell what’s real and what’s fictitious here. Well, the cameos of Billy Idol should belong to the latter category, while the Rick Parfitt as a reference for Lourdes’ appearance rings rather true, whereas Stamp impersonating Stamp is a nice stylistic vignette, a recursion as genuine as it’s needed to make the bizarre seem normal. And when the actor delivers “Night & Day” on a bonus disc – a soundtrack complementing three CDs of Robert’s reminiscences – alongside Godley’s originals, the lines between sober perception and delirium blur indefinitely, the yarn’s coda emerging as a major sting in the tail end of things.
Snippets of “Rebel Rebel” and “Rebel Yell” adding context to the madcap atmosphere, sound – music, effects, the guitar of Daniel Ash of BAUHAUS fame, and the multitude of fuck’s – has a special role in the “ear movie” but it doesn’t distract from the comedic jumble, with a salty bit of drama thrown in for good measure. What’s a measure when everything’s so exaggerated may be a reasonable question, albeit it’s also a rhetorical one, because there’s no answer and no need for an answer. It’s the process itself that gives meaning to the passing of events, yet the same can be said about a ride. This disease has no cure, just like love.