Tuesday 22 January 2013


Yesterday I had a look at the 50 Years of A Clockwork Orange exhibition at Manchester's fantastic John Rylands Library, that's right, a library, fantastic. I'm defo getting old. This has been on in town since August and runs for just five more days. For such a Connoisseur's favourite, it had to be viddied (sorry) and I'm glad we did. Photos are largely frowned upon in these places, so the covert iPhone snapping went quite well I reckon, especially when you could hear each click from downstairs!
Anthony Burgess (1917-93) was a Manchester-born novelist, poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic. His most famous work was undoubtedly A Clockwork Orange, one which it's fair to say he had a love-hate relationship with. Even now, this film still has a huge cult about it, but as we have been completely desensitised over time - blood, guts, genitals and c-words are the norm on post watershed television today and that's just on Embarrassing Bodies! 
It's easy to forget just how hard hitting and naughty this film was when it was first released, I mean, Sid James and Reg Varney chasing young skirt was considered risque back then, so this caused a right stir. To me, the violence is very much underplayed, quite theatrical even, it was more left in the psyche of the viewer and the ensuing shitstorm it caused, but you don't need me to tell you this. A murky future world full of ultraviolence, home invasions, rape, naked flesh and fanny hair was bound to get the tabloids going crazy, as they did.
This was a great look at some rare props and not often seen photographs, there was an original paperback which Burgess himself had defaced, written and typewritten exchanges between Burgess and from Stanley Kubrick, rare publicity photos, the excellent seldom seen illustrations and poster drafts from Philip Castle, which were the inspiration for our very own Ultraviolence tee. 
Let's remember Kubrick often destroyed all trace of his works once he had his final masterpiece done and dusted.  Yes, of course the large porcelain phallic statue was there too! You couldn't touch it though, it is a very important work of art!

This runs until Jan 27 at the John Rylands Library.
'Please be advised that some of the images on display in this exhibition are not appropriate for viewing by younger visitors.' DC

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