I saw this film in a somnolent state on a small hotel TV screen recently, late at night. It seemed emblematic of a certain strand of mid-1970s cinema subsequently dubbed ‘New Hollywood’. Not much happened in the film but it’s circuitous nature allowed me to reflect on the characters’ motives and the context of an era where the American Dream had begun to unravel in the eyes of many counter-cultural figures, including, presumably, the director Bob Rafelson. You can see it in the run-down hotels and the bleak vaudeville settings for this intriguing non-drama about suspicion and mental deterioration.
John Griffiths book cover for Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud, 1962.
I saw in The Guardian that Penguin book illustrator John Griffiths had died and it seemed appropriate to share one of his striking covers. There’s a bit of debate going on currently about the differing merits of e-books versus physical books but, whatever your opinion, I think that there’s something magical about the physical properties of individual books especially when encased in wonderful jackets such as this one. Print, tactility and the need for illustration are factors that should not be underestimated because they help to emphasise that individuality.