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Showing posts from January, 2012

The chauffeur: Duran/ Ballard/ Petit/ Newton

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In Chris Petit's 1979 masterpiece Radio On, the protagonist drives his vintage car down the Westway in London, while David Bowie's 'Always Crashing in the Same Car' plays on the soundtrack. In the background we can see high-rise council blocks, and a haze over a drab London. Radio On begins in Ballard territory, but develops into a road movie, where urban anomie is left behind on a fragmented road trip to Bristol, where the protagonist will attempt to deal with the death of his brother. (His brother had sent him a birthday present of three Kraftwerk albums on tape, at the beginning of the film: Radioactivity, Trans-Europe Express and Man-Machine. Not Autobahn, though: too obvious.) Radio On takes its cue from New German Cinema, particularly Wenders, in its oblique take on the contemporary everyday. Iain Sinclair, friend and collaborator of Petit, describes Radio On as 'a mysterious, existential journey - to Weston-Super-Mare (with swathes of prophetic weather, futu…