Aphrodisiac Junction

I don't know what's happening to me. When I drive, I hardly sleep and what sleep I do have is more like wakefulness. Yet strangely interpenetrated with dreams. Very early this morning, before the one fugitive kookaburra that lives around here started chortling, I saw before me a page of prose in which there was mention of a couple of places in a part of Sydney that doesn't exist, or doesn't exist yet. The first of these was Burke's Aphrodisiac; the second, Aphrodisiac Junction. I quite often dream in print, sometimes even in verse, which I generally see before me the way it might appear in a book; but it's usually all gone by the time I wake, apart from, as on this occasion, the odd word or two. As far as I can tell, Burke's Aphrodisiac is a small beach place, a little cove on the coastal outskirts of the Metropolis. Probably squatted in the Depression, with title given the squatters later, as happened at a number of places round here. The Junction is up on the hill above the beach, where there's a few shops, where you turn off to go down to the water. Burke might have come from the street name, in which case it should be Bourke; yet I seem to recall it was spelled only with the U, in which case it must refer to the Burke who went with Wills. This must have ended up in the dream because I rang a friend the other day to ask him the name of the German watercolourist who went with, and died on, that doomed expedition (Ludwig Becker). That's it; that's all I know. Apart from one other thing: this seems to belong in the story of Jakob Oort, whose name also came to me in a dream. Now I want to go and live there.


Bernardus Sylvestris said...

I thought about this post at the time. It reminded me so much of a film by Scorsese, a driving film, much less welll known than Taxi Driver, in fact I had to look up the title.
It is "Bringing Out the Dead" where Nicholas Cage drives the night in NY and sleep: lack of it, desire for it becomes the dominant thread for the film.

Martin Edmond said...

Haven't seen 'Bringing Out the Dead' but, for sleeplessness as a theme, Paul Schrader's 'Light Sleeper' isn't bad ... the phantasmagoria I call it, things jumping at the margins of sight/sense ...

Bernardus Sylvestris said...

Of course, Schrader, the man himself. He also wrote "Bringing out the dead" which then makes a trilogy with "Taxi Driver".
In this film Nicholas Cage is driving an ambulance and the dealer is selling "sleep"

Sleep and driving.

I once came across a novelisation rather than a script of taxi driver.
The thing I remember most is that Travis at the end is singing an Australian song which he has learnt in the Nam.

One night while droving sleep
My companions were asleep
there was not a star to illuminate the sky
I was dreaming I suppose
Cos my eyes were partly closed
when a very strange procession passed me by

At least they are my words, his words

Ok I've just found it
Richard Elman from Long Island not Richard Ellman, biographer.
I didn't expect to find the novelizator but there he is.
and he has attitude.

If John W. Hinckley Jr., accused of shooting President Reagan, was really acting out the role of the psychotic former Marine in the 1976 movie ''Taxi Driver'' because of a fantasy about the actress Jodie Foster who portrayed a teen-age prostitute in the film, he wasn't following the story line according to Richard Elman, the Stony Brook author who wrote a novel based on the film script.

Federal investigators suggest that Mr. Hinckley may have envisaged himself as Travis Bickle, the character in ''Taxi Driver'' who befriends a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris, played by Miss Foster. Bickle plans the assassination of a United States Senator after his romantic overtures toward one of the Senator's aides are rejected.

Both in the novel and in the film, Bickle stalks the Senator, but is frightened off by the Senator's bodyguard and, instead, stages a murderous rampage in a seedy hotel on Manhattan's Lower East Side, killing the young prostitute's pimp and a number of other men, including a wanted criminal. As a result, he is widely regarded as a hero rather than the assassin he started out to be.

Mr. Elman followed the film's plot but altered the mood and character portrayal in his novelization of Paul Schrader's script. Mr. Elman said he found the screen production

''full of gratuitous violence.''

''The movie romanticizes psychotic personality,'' he said. ''I tried in the novel to portray what makes people like Travis Bickle psychotic. He was an illiterate, dissociated man full of rage and trained in the techniques of killing in Vietnam. He is a loser obsessed with being remembered in history.''

Both the novel and the movie differ from real life in another way, Mr. Elman added. ''In the book and film script,'' he said, ''the people who sold guns to Bickle were portrayed as criminals - dealers in contraband. In real life, however, anyone can buy and sell guns.''