My father’s embarrassing. We’re talking sharp-edged and practiced embarrassment that can harm across time, leaving you wounded long after you’ve forgotten. Luckily for me, I still remember all the interesting bits.
So my father was embarrassing, and this wasn’t just the opinion of a child grown, but the adults that have aged alongside him. He didn’t seem to mind, and in fact I think he lived for the opportunities to throw a little chaos into peoples lives, till the world stared at its shoes, cheeks red with shame.
My dad liked knights. I don’t know why exactly. He told me once that he read the school library of its histories, and somewhere in feudal Britain he found a world to escape to. Something about a land with as many kings as there were rivers. A time of strife and the individual.
Then one day I popped into the world, and I found King Arthur.
I don’t know whether it was the 1981 film Excalibur, or the stories of faeries and the lady of the lake stories told by my mother, or the trips to Camelot the knight theme park that first piqued my interest into the world of Knights, but whatever it was it doesn’t seem to have stopped.
The film Excalibur is still one of my favourite films, and last night I had a long think about why that was. Naturally Carl Orff’s O Fortuna instantly makes any film better; I bet you could make a cinematic masterpiece out of a scene of a constipated nun as long as O Fortuna played in the background. Then there’s the plethora of actors, with the mad Nicol Williamson at the forefront as Merlin.
Whatever it was, I found it as a little boy. The film is multilayered, working as more of a mythological telling than a logical account, with lots of symbology, and lessons to be learned. It’s so rare to find a story that works both for the individual and as a cultural guideline, from the leashed wolf of Uther Pendragon hellbent on dominating as opposed to ruling, to Mordred the apex of the overprotected child grown petulant and disgusted to his father and the rules before him.
It’s a story about being. What you have here is an account that you are entitled to get what you want, no matter how dark or short sighted, but once you do then you’ll pay in all kind of ways.
And there’s Patrick Stewart, kicking arse as only Picard can.