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Literary Stalker: Model Villages, Metacrime & Möbius Strips

Roger ponders the infinite tunnel of models within models – a black hole in village life

In this fourteen-minute film, I visit the model village at Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds and use it to talk about the metafictional elements in Literary Stalker and other books and films. This model village is a particularly fine example of the art, completed in 1937 after five years of work. It is most interesting because – as the model stands within the actual village – it has a model of itself, which in turn has a model, and so on, creating an infinite regression. This has been a source of awe to me, ever since I first visited the model at the age of twelve or thirteen in the 1960s.

I refer to the model to illustrate the infinite regression of novels-within-novels in Literary Stalker, comparing it to the movie Synecdoche, New York, which does a similar thing. I also look at the Möbius strip narrative devices in Literary Stalker together with my previous book The Mad Artist, again making comparisons to books and films, such Finnegans Wake, Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway – and the rabbit-hole reality bending of The Matrix. The third element of the talk touches on the genre of ‘metacrime’ and Literary Stalker, and I mention other simpatico works by writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Paul Auster, Martin Amis, Flann O’Brien, Cameron McCabe, Joe Hill and Dennis Potter.

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My Movie-Buff Literary Stalker

Guest Post for GetWordy on the Literary Stalker Blog Tour. Thanks to Laura James for hosting.


 

When I constructed my literary stalker, Nick Chatterton, I tried to make him unlike myself in many ways – ‘…so people won’t think he’s me’ – as Nick says about his own fictional creation, Jago Farrar. I made Nick thirty-eight, gay, unemployed, with a full head of long hair, borderline personality disorder and a criminal record – none of which apply to myself. I also gave him a different profile as a writer to my own, though there are some similarities (we both wrote horror short stories for small press magazines). But in one particular area I fashioned Nick very much in my own image – I gave him my taste in movies and made him a movie buff.

My own background is art college, film school, and work in broadcast TV and video production as an editor and director; and later I added film and DVD reviewing and feature writing to the skill set. I’ve loved ‘the movies’ since childhood, when I saw films such as Jason and the Argonauts and The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, way back in the early 1960s. Since then my tastes have developed along certain lines, and I’m known as an aficionado of the weird, surreal and offbeat in cinema, a tendency which touches upon art movies, horror and crime, science fiction and metafiction. I also love film noir and intelligent gangster and dark transgressive movies generally. So I bequeathed these interests to Nick, and thus I was able to add another layer to Literary Stalker, where the films Nick uses in his plots and references in his daily life become adjuncts to the storytelling, bouncing the ideas around the text as though in a hall of mirrors…

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