Wednesday, 28 March 2007

On first looking into Martin's "The Jerk"


"His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred."

-Ernest Hemingway on F Scott Fitzgerald. A Moveable Feast.



The middle aged malaise. How competely terrifying. If only I were far enough up in my own career to worry about The Fall. At the moment I'm still fixated on The Climb. The Fall would be welcome. A regular Fall in the park.

But today, of course, "The Jerk" still in my laptop's DVD player, I am particularly interested in The Fall. Or Steve Martin's Fall, to be precise. Seeing how well 1979 treated his grey hair and sweet smile, it seems such a shame that his last written offering was "Shop Girl." Utterly mediocre by all counts. Perhaps some artists really do have a best before date on their packaging.

A couple of friends have intimated to me that the only reason to make any kind of art is because you can't help it. You should be a writer if it's the only thing you can do. Is it possible that Steve Martin is now writing forthe wrong reaons- Is he writing because it is what's expected of him? Or is he indeed helplessly tied to a typewriter, spewing out mediocrity and receiving calls every three months from movie producers who think this next project just might be "the one."? According to celebrity photographer Rankin, once you believe your own hype you risk becoming a twat. Steve Martin is all hype and no substance these days. It can't be that we're actually tired of his substance. The Jerk and I never met until today, and I'd certainly invite him round to dinner. So what gives? Where did all his good work go?


Much have I heard of Steve Martin of old
And eighties goodly films and stand-up seen;
Father to our Bride has he been
A candle to Spencer Tracy and less cold.
Oft of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels had I been told
That grey-haired Martin ruled as his demesne.
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard "The Jerk" speak out loud and bold:
Then I felt like some watcher of the skies
When Groucho Marx first twitched a moustache at his ken;
Or like Diane Keaton when with eagle eyes--
She stared at Woody Allen pick up his pen
She looked at him with a wild surmise
As I do now, to know what Martin lost since then.

Sorry to be so hard on you Steve, but I need someone to look up to. And if you keep Falling the only place to aim will be down. So stop being a twat and get back to being a jerk. Because we miss you. We really do.

1 comment:

Keeley said...

Steve Martin's facial expression would really raise my hackles, if I had sufficient hackles and knew how to raise them. Until I develop that skill, I'll make do with slapping the screen.

Very interesting blog, Young Playwright. Makes me feel kind of stoopid (as does the thought of my wasted education, along with people who think I'm clever and discover I'm all coating and no substance, rather like a coco pop) - but I'm very much enjoying the challenge :)