Sunday, November 09, 2014

"All Or Nothing"

This is the title of an article in the November 10th edition of "The New Yorker".  Its subtitle is "A playwright's search for his feral instincts".  Jez Butterworth, the English playwright and screenwriter, was unknown here until I came upon this article looking for one last thing to read last night.  The article for some reason did not seem promising at first, but my first impression was completely wrong.

While Butterworth is not immune to periods of seeming writer's block or just plain lack of motivation, from what is read here, when he is on he is prolific.  He has written several plays that received major critical acclaim, and others that charmed but had a more narrow dedicated audience.  There is no reason to detail the plays since they have not be seen here, and there is no insight to add.  Butterworth writes screenplays to make money and because he is good at it.  Among others, he wrote the screenplay for the James Bond film "Skyfall" and is at work on another Bond film now.  One would presume these cover the mortgages and then some.

The real charms of the article, by far, are the instances that describe insights that have helped Butterworth with his writing.  One is a simple exchange between Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie that he heard about while watching a YouTube interview with Davis.  Another is an insight that he had while seeing an exhibition of Robert Capa photos.  Yet another is the humorous behavior of Neil Young as he closed a concert, taking control of the moment.  There is more.  The number of artists of various types that are drawn into this article as part of the commentary was engaging to this reader.

Regular readers of this blog are well aware that "The New Yorker" is a week in week out favorite of the writer.  There are notable articles almost every week and they are not chosen for comment here.  I assume that many readers here have already seen what has been written, on paper or the internet.  Occasionally there is an article that is so compelling or so unique that it cannot help but be mentioned on ENS.  "All or Nothing" falls more easily into the unique category.


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