Saturday, 28 January 2017

In Memory and Always In Vision: John Hurt

"It's a screwdriver, what are you going to do erect a cabinet around them?"
Last year I attended a screening of A Naked Civil Servant at the BFI and the subsequent Q and A, John Hurt was taking part and was the main reason for attending. I, like many others, have been a fan of Hurt's work for years and the opportunity to hear from the man himself wasn't something I was going to miss. I expected to witness Hurt's honesty, his eloquence and his passion for great film making and for a creative process that always, always had something to teach you. What I wasn't expecting and what bowled me over was his humility. Here is an actor that has given his talent to a list of films that reads like a must see of cinematic greats, they are all classics. Whether you marvel at his performance as the haunted and misunderstood John Merrick (Elephant Man), the horrific demise of Kane (Alien) or the magical and engaging Ollivander (Harry Potter) you always get the same level of delivery. Hurt always gave the very best and his films shine with the sort of radiance that you are always bathed in when in the presence of genius. John Hurt had every right to boast of his achievement and yet, yet I witnessed a man who was genuinely bemused at the level of his success. Instead of enjoying the focused limelight he deflected to the creative Directors who had gifted him such amazing roles. Such was the level of his humility that he had to be reminded by a fellow panel contributor that he was cast in these roles because he was, is ( I hate the shift of tense when someone passes away) "a talented and amazing actor, you fool" Hurt just looked at him and grinned, his eyes sparkling.

John Hurt was a British Film icon and he made the films he starred in iconic in their stature as well. Can you imagine 'V For Vendetta' without Hurt's chilling central performance as Adam Sutler? Or Orwell's '1984' without Hurt playing the role of the Winston Smith? Why would you even want to? Hurt even gifted the Doctor Who universe with his talent and his portrayal of The War Doctor has been lauded by fans both new and old. Hurt never delivered a bad performance, such was the level of his skill, and yet he always gave the impression of an actor that was still learning. As Hurt remarked once himself:

"If you listen you learn, if you talk you don't"

As is always true when truly creative genius leave us, we are left with a wonderful body of work to continue to enjoy and remember them by. But the life spark has been snuffed out and we will never again enjoy a new Hurt performance. Here, I am afraid, I run out of words and phrases that are appropriately deep to be attached to the memory of Hurt. He was one of a kind, an actor that always gave everything he had in the pursuit of refining. Thank you for giving of yourself so selfishly and providing us with so many astounding cinematic moments to enjoy and remember you by.

John Hurt. 22nd January 1940- 27th January 2017

Thursday, 12 January 2017


On the 1st Anniversary of the passing of Bowie I had tickets to see Lazarus, co written by the man himself and a sequel to The Man Who Fell To Earth. It's going to get emotional!...

Saturday, 7 January 2017

We Could Be Heroes

                                          David Bowie 8th January 1947- 10th January 2016

It's hard to believe a year has passed since Bowie left us. Still hurts and still cant believe he has gone. As a mark of respect I will take my seat alongside other similar thinking people on Tuesday to watch a performance of Lazarus in London. This is what I wrote a year ago..