August 23, 2009


I'm still not sure what this means. I have been rehaunted by Dune for a while now. I picked up the book again for no reason I can put my finger on and read random sections of it, gradually compelled to read more and more.

I went to hospital on my own. I felt alone and unloved as everyone around me had partners and family with them. I picked up the book and started fairly near the end and read for three hours while I was changed into an operating gown and was given a wristband with my name and date of birth on it.

In the operating theatre with strangers around me I put on a brave face but in such a sterile environment I have never experienced before, I felt I had come to this moment at this point in my life without any love or security which was very sobering. I had felt earlier that I had better admit my past usage of Ketamine to The Anaesthetist just in case it made a difference, and she was joking with me about it as she injected me.

"When I give it to children, they tend to do what I tell them."

As the drug started working I was telling them the price of K in chemists in India. One of the nurses was from India and she was telling me about a temple or maybe a mosque in East London.

I woke up, surprised at how good I was feeling. I asked the nurse who was watching the batch of patients I was part of if I could carry on reading my book. Seeing that I was obviously making a quick recovery she summoned a porter to move me into the next room.

I felt energy seem to return to me quickly, or it might have been surprise at how little the anaesthetic seemed to affect me. I got out of bed and asked if I could go to the toilet. I passed families in caring modes around beds. I didn't know how to react. I just felt luckier than their relatives. When I got back I was given my clothes and was allowed to sit in my chair.

Eventually my ex turned up to collect me.

"Do you want your results?" asked the nurse.

All clear. Good to hear after a hard three months not smoking anything waiting for this moment. I left the hospital feeling lucky. I am not in a hurry to start smoking again.

I thought I was OK but almost walked into a bollard outside. We jumped on the bus home and I walked a lot of the way feeling fine. At home I cut off my wristband and rested. I carried on with Dune between dozes and by the time I got to the end I was hardly able to focus on the words. For the last few days I have felt fine but had to sleep a lot. A friend and her two year old have been to visit which has been nice.

The whole Dune thing seeped further and further in. The story always revisits me for a reason and I don't know this time what the reason is. A friend lent me The boxed DVD which had some additional material and put the film in a different context.

I saw this film when it came out before I read the book and loved it. It spoke to me.

"The Sleeper Awakens".

I just got it. I only heard years latter than it was panned by the critics and bombed commercially.

Rereading a book written in 1965 now, in 2009 what jumps out in todays context is the references to Jihad- The Fremen being desert people on a Holy War. There is even mention of The Shariah and the name The Fremen give the hero Paul Artreides is Usul, or the base of the pyramid. Al- Qaeda means "The base". Although one of the fremen is involved in a suicide bombing of sorts it is not directed against random strangers.

After drinking a fair bit of the French farmers Calvados I finally got round to watching the film again tonight, searching for the new meaning I am supposed to find on this pass.

"Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

But what? How?



Huey P Muslim said...

Hi dave,

Surrealism aside hope you're feeling better :-)

ive never read dune myself (played the PC game a fair bit though...) but I feel compelled to after this post!


Bartholomew said...

I thought the film was underrated - Kenneth Mcmillan hams it up too much as the Baron, and David Lynch was really just after the cash for Blue Velvet, but it had a bit of a nice Steampunk look to it, and there were some memorable performances and a great soundtrack. Plus Virginia Madsen never looked better! The script also added some nice new elements, like the heart plugs (although we could have done without the rain at the end).

Herbert did well to imagine a future without robots and computers, since it means the story has dated far less. Everytime I watch a Star Trek episode, old or new, I often wonder why most of the stuff the spaceships do - including fighting - isn't just handed over to a computer to perform. In the last film the forcefield which stops the cast (besides a hapless extra) being sucked into space by a hole in bridge doesn't even come on automatically.

DAVE BONES said...

Cheers I am feeling great. I think I needed a raw dose of fear to stop me smoking, which I am glad of.

The boxed set came with a doco which was a revelation. Particularly with how British the film actually was. There was an old lady working on it who was more eccentric than Lynch.

She critisised the film because she thought there was no humour in it and she didn't think the worm was friendly looking which I thought was ridiculous because the Harkonens were really perverse and funny in a proper David Lynch styley.

It was strange to see what people thought after the event. How some thought that because it wasn't a commercial success that it was a faliure artistically, and how others still stood by their work, particularly the special effects guy.

It comes across as one of the last great pre-CGI epics, in the truest sense, in that you can look at it now and it still stands up. Nothing looks cheap or flimsy because it wasn't. Eighty sets built on sixteen sound stages. All the props custom built.

What was really funny for me was watching the TV version on youtube. I never even knew there was one. I can see the thinking behind it.

"The film was a flop so lets make it for TV".

What a load of shit! Hilarious.

Reading the hisoty of the project on wikipedia is interesting. I never knew that Mobieus and Geiger were attatched to this. They- particularly Mobieus are my favourite artists. How the film turned out looking this good without them is a credit to all involved.

I can understand how Lynch must have hated the edit but I think it represents the essence of the story really well. I have a really deep spiritual connection to the book and the film. I am still wondering what it is saying to me.

Maybe I should go take Ayahuasca or something. I am up for it, I just dont want to get involved in one of those stupid ceremonies where some religious group tells you what it is. I understand it is probably better to do these things with a guide first time, but I'd have to choose my Shaman carefully I think.

La Sirena said...

That was a lovely post and I'm glad you're feeling okay. I never read "Dune" but I might have to now.

I think shamans and guides are overrated but I'm sure you'll stumble upon what or who you need when the time comes.

Happy trails.

Anonymous said...

'The sleeper awakens' references the hidden memories of all previous genetic lines in the Atreides, waking up to them is the awakening.