Tales that Witness Madness Blog: When You’re Strange.
11th October. 2021
I watched ‘When You’re Strange’ the other day – a documentary about The Doors and Jim Morrison. It has some good footage that I had never seen before, that the band shot themselves. Specifically, Jim driving around in a 1967 Shelby. That footage alone is amazing. I actually thought it was a Jim Morrison lookalike that they filmed those scenes with as it’s so clear and pristine looking. But it’s undoubtedly Morrison driving down long stretches of highway, stopping off at a petrol station, etc. Johnny Depp narrates the film as well which is kinda cool – he’s got a good voice.
I recently watched Oliver Stone’s film as well (which I had seen before) but that was actually an extended cut of the movie and it was the best version of the film I’d ever seen as it has a few more scenes with the band and extends some of the gigs.
I hadn’t seen much footage of Jim Morrison before, so this documentary really showed me how uncannily close Val Kilmer was at portraying Jim Morrison in Stone’s film.
I always liked The Doors’ music – when I got a Philips CD-i for my 18th birthday, one of the first cds I was playing then was The Doors greatest hits. I vividly remember putting ‘Riders on the Storm’ on in my bedroom and being mesmerised at the crispness and atmospheric ambience of that intro of the rain and the keyboard playing on the CD-i. The whole bedroom was immersed into that piece of music.
The Philips CD-i was no cheap games console back then. It was around £300 in the ’90s. It was one of the first machines to use CD roms and it could also play video CDs – a pre-cursor to DVDs.
Many a night I was playing games on this machine. There was a traditional game controller you could buy, but I never had the money to buy one, so I was stuck with the controller in the photo, which was a nightmare to use for playing fast-paced games like ‘Escape from Cybercity.’
The thing was, there weren’t many good games for it (Zelda was dreadful!). And the games that were actually good required a ‘Full Motion Video’ (or words to that affect) hard drive which you had to buy additionally! I eventually got that for Christmas – again, that was about £200 back in the ’90s, thus making my CD-i a £500 machine!
And yet the games still weren’t up to the greatness I wanted them to be. I got Burn Cycle for my birthday – a cyberpunk detective game that looks like Blade Runner in places. The graphics were great, the gameplay wasn’t bad. It just frustrated me that you couldn’t go everywhere in the game – I wanted to explore every inch of the world, but it wouldn’t let you.
I also got The 7th Guest – an interactive movie puzzle adventure game. The soundtrack to that was amazing and made it so atmospheric. You basically roam a haunted mansion and have to solve puzzles – the full motion video segments are pretty good, the horror elements are inventive. I eventually finished it as well, one of the few games I stuck out until the end.
Anyway, back to the ‘When You’re Strange’ documentary – so it’s worth checking out if you like The Doors or have a vague interest in them and their music. I read Oliver Stone’s biography ‘Chasing the Light’ last year and he mentions Jim Morrison quite a few times as a major influence on him and his writing.
This initially peaked my interest in Morrison’s writings and poetry. So, after watching the documentary the other day I decided to buy his first poetry book – The Lords. The New Creatures. I managed to snag a copy off Ebay. So I’m looking forward to reading that.
Poetry is something I’ve only recently gotten into. It was only after buying Charles Bukowski’s ‘The Pleasure of the Damned’ poetry collection that I started to appreciate poetry. I love Bukowski’s novels, so that was my first step into reading poetry. Prior to that I hated poetry – the shithole asylum of a high school I went to put a major dampener on literature for me for many years. They enforced all the classical texts on you like they were the be-all and end-all.
It was only years later that I started to find the writers and books that spoke to me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that Shakespeare has a place in literature, but he’s just not for me, not in this lifetime. I’d rather read David Mamet plays.
In the last few years I’ve been writing some poetry so It’s a learning process and I always welcome recommendations of poets I should check out, as long as they don’t rhyme – that is a major pet peeve of mine. Poems shouldn’t rhyme! Write a rap song if you want to rhyme please!
Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading some of Jim Morrison’s poems. As for my own writing progress – well, I’ve finished another draft of my short sci-fi story set in Edinburgh. I think this is the final draft, minus the typos. It’s 20,000 words, so technically it’s a novella. Who knows what I’ll do with it. I’d like to send it out, but at that word count there’s probably very few, if any, places to send it to.
This week i’m looking to continue and finish a feature length screenplay. I’m giving myself just this week to write and finish it. I already started it a few months back. It’s a thriller / drama, set in London. It’s from a short story I wrote 20 years ago. I’ll give an update on it, if anyone’s interested. I’m using Fade-In script-writing software for it.
Anyway, this was meant to be a shorter entry than I intended (I waffled on about the CD-i!) but if anyone has some good poetry recommendations gimme a shout (as long as they don’t rhyme) and let me know if you watch The Doors documentary!
Lastly, as is fitting with my blog posts – here is a photo I took in Bo’ness, on October 19th 2017.