Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unsent Letters to Gary Busey: Letter 1 - Sprawling Apologies & Silver Bullet

Dear Gary Busey,

Words are not your forte, I know that. The merest fart of a word is outright prolixity to you. Sentences are vulgar extravagance, needless and distracting. I know your pain about the words; your agony has no place to hide. Conceiving expression as a set of inky shapes and phonetic blips, limiting communication to signifiers and signifieds, imprisoning infinity’s charm within walls of grammatical rules, tyrannies propelled through time from a past non-existent to the present – all that reeks of the clearest declaration of shite ever inscribed upon the world.

I know that, Gary Busey, don’t think I’ve forgotten; your advice resists death like nothing else. And I know your time is precious, not one second is unimportant, not one minute can be abandoned to wastefulness. Your life is time lived radiant, encrusted with forms of expressivity that make language appear crude and antiquated. For some this is unfathomable: they question a man’s recourse to frenetic bodily dance as a way of imparting information, and they assume puzzled expressions when an inferno of blonde hair conveys complex data concerning the ontological integrity of biscuits.

That’s not me. I harbour no misconceptions about you, Gary Busey. Disdain for words and desire for their extermination – to be sure, hefty missions that go unenvied – they constitute a remit fit only for a Busey. Let no one say Gary Busey was a man who needed ambition.

Recognition, that’s my point: I recognise your position. Your podium’s faint to me, I can barely see your feet, but I see enough to know all, enough for my senses to be thrilled into recognition.

Surely it’s predictable, but I ask you to wait. Fight the basest temptation to cast this missive from your hands. Don’t discard the fiend just yet. You may recoil in horror, you might be recoiling in horror right now, the words suffocating every blowhole you own. Naturally I leave myself exposed to severe retribution, but I ask that you not enact revenge upon my person. Or if you have to, at least warn me first, leave some of your teeth scattered round the kitchen floor, or something.

Your truths are inescapable, Gary Busey. I know I run the risk of a maniacal Hollywood outcast arriving on my doorstep brandishing a machete. I run that risk every day of my life. But if that’s fate’s plan, then so be it, for I must discuss Silver Bullet with you.

It itches night and day, it’s a disease of a fortnight’s lack of sleep. It scars deep, but the urges drive me forward, compelling this circumlocutory discourse. The urges are a source of propulsion for the tired and the graceless.

Self-evident truths are clearly a leitmotif of this letter, Gary Busey, sir. Anticipation of your reading organises all its content, shaping like clay all the words so abhorrent to you. Each remark I begin to type is accompanied by its apprehension by you. Each remark is modified into a truism before the sentence has finished. Only cliché and empty verbosity remain. Yawning gaps between the vital and the superfluous open up. By cruel convention the former are always the aspects to be sacrificed first, with turgid spills of banality left behind to consume.

Let no insults bloody your person, Gary Busey. No condescension is intended. Every utterance comes soaked in self-consciousness. You may not think so, you may see only contrivance. But I assure you it is true. And if you still balk at belief, play the game nonetheless: slide into the role of recipient, of confidant, of the man gestured at by the words Gary Busey. Dive into the performance, block the calls of the real, seek only validity as defined by the present arrangement of words (which you hate).

Allow me to say it: Gary Busey films are impossible to discuss in a manner cogent and elegant. Sure, there is always the necessity of translation, regardless of what the film is. Narrative form and the flow of images demand conversion into wieldy units, which can subsequently be used to celebrate or dismantle said objects. Film criticism is a translation of film spectatorship, it gives form to the formless act of watching a film.

However frequently the routine is performed, your films, Gary Busey, represent considerable problems in accomplishing this translation. Other than direct translation carried out by your fine self, I see no guaranteed routes to success. Like Samuel Beckett translating his French prose into English, or Vladimir Nabokov translating his Russian novels into English, only you, Gary Busey, can fit the essence of your films into a different idiom. Although it must be said, you would do so without resorting to the primitive ebb and flow of language.

Failure is the inevitable outcome, but I persist nevertheless in writing a word or two about Silver Bullet.

The bounds of realism were never made for Gary Busey. Speaking your name – both silently, encased within the mind, and aloud – leads one to consider the phantasmagorical to be the most appropriate sphere for you. Madcap imaginative horror and wacky science-fiction are genres born to be sutured to the name of Gary Busey. Silver Bullet’s showcase of werewolf shenanigans is perfect fodder for you.

That’s remark number one. Perhaps I should have numbered these. Alas, there is zero scope for editing in this everlasting present of ours. March on…

An acquaintance once told me that before the days of Coreys Feldman and Haim, a another delirious era of twosome excellence existed. Never would I have guessed that this miraculous coupling would have been comprised of Corey Haim and Gary Busey. Yet this is a fact as derived from Silver Bullet’s wealth of curiosities.

I’m slightly hurt that you never once mentioned being a component of this duo to me, Gary Busey. Had I known, I would have been more hesitant in dismissing Silver Bullet as just another awful Stephen King adaptation. You never know, I might have watched the fucker sooner, rather than torment it with twenty-three year’s worth of wait.

Yes, nephew Corey to uncle Busey. Wheelchairs with rockets attached, grotty nights lain across the poker wastelands, unfunny jokes cloaked in expectorate, and of course a ravenous werewolf to unmask and defeat. Buddy protagonists rarely attain such heights, for Busey-Corey combine to create an almighty opus.

Sadly – and I must voice criticism here, Gary Busey, there’s no avoiding it – the opus is surrounded by a constant rain of weakness and indecision. One minute we get an unnerving Fulci-esque sequence of stilled faces and sub-Goblins rumble, then we have a polyester wolfman playing the pantomime villain, then finally some sentimental Stand By Me coming-of-age nonsense. Brilliant if the objective is a patchy mosaic of entrails and wistful childhood memories; rather shite otherwise.

But dear Gary Busey, yes, I hear your reply, I hear your garbled screams. You are too correct, Silver Bullet’s deficiencies are not of your doing. Blame resides elsewhere. I wouldn’t dare tarnish your reputation with words of attack aimed to undermine a young (fictional) boy’s struggle to live with a disability and fight a werewolf. Nothing could be farther from my intention.

I come to the end of my words. I hope the projects you were telling me about last time have proceeded well. A slew of remakes, wasn’t it? Enhancing dire narratives produced without your presence, that’s correct, isn’t it? The Bigger Heat, was it? Older Boy? Well whatever they were, may success find you well. Do give my best to Betsy and Ethel. Sorry about the words and whatnot.

Oodles of love and affection,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out a site called Navtones. They do real celebrity voices for GPS and Busey is one of them. I bought it and Busey is a genesis with his words.

Love it and love him!

11:17 pm  
Blogger Aaron McMullan said...

Ah god damn! Jesus sakes that was beautiful - Lucy knows if anyone's beyond the realms of the verbal - or the articulate, anyway - it's Busey! And all the blessing in the world to him for that. For the rest of us, word-hoors that we are - further installments of these letters, that's what we'll hope for. for if words are to be ours, then at least we have these - words like these, arranged thus. Beautiful!

And a glorious memory-flare there regardin the rockets on the wheelchair. I'd forgot about that. About all of the thing in fact - even, whisper it, The Busey - beyond the werewolf delirium in the chapel. but i'll be damned if the nostalgia isn't pullin me towards it... no good awaits, I'm sure - but there is always Busey.

12:02 am  

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