Monday, 27 July 2009

Dear Alex,
Yes I can remember quite a few things but I hope they're not too personal...I liked the Hammer writing (the titles) -it reminded me of the First Reich typography-I wonder if that was intentional considering the era the film was made-I wonder if the First world war still represented the horror of the second...twice it happened it must have felt like it was going to happen forever.

I thought Christopher Lee was Peter Cushing and I was having little fantasies about him swimming in the sea and imagining his fangs taking in the North Sea...and then Doctor Van Helsing arrived and I realised I had got it wrong. I couldn't imagine what Dracula's body was like anyway, so it solved a problem for me-I thought maybe...My mother had an Edwardian Schoolmaster doll. She had patched his face up with plaster and watercolour and he looked like those WWI Pachendale victims that had their faces patched up-to be left with half of their face with an unnatural sheen. I always wanted to see what the Schoolmaster’s body was like under his black gown and trousers-but his legs looked like matchsticks and didn't join up with his Edwardian spats. Maybe I am thinking of Mumra but that's what I thought Dracula's body might be like. I don't think he had need of a body did he? The women seemed delighted with his mouth. When did the acceptance of the clitoris as useful and important come about? I remember my aunt saying that for a woman to have sex on top of a man was seen as outrageously emasculating.

What else do I remember...that the unpleasant action occurred downstairs in the cellar. The glacial waters that flowed outside Dracula's castle reminded me of Switzerland.....The deep flowing water of Geneva was very exciting for me...I remember looking over a bridge at the cormorants underwater and wondering if I would ever come back and see it and if I would be married by then. I fell asleep in the park after that, setting my alarm clock, and was woken up often by annoying men trying to 'help' me. The students had gone to the United Nations and I had fainted so I was allowed to wander around on my own.

I remember we watched the film naked and we were on a pallbearers duvet cover.

I had left my shoes under the bin bag that ended up being the marker of the photo's ripped up in the plastic bag you use for a bin. I felt very sorry for you that you would always have that burden and how can you possibly think life is fair and if you don't think life is fair isn't it hard to put effort into things...but maybe everyone has to operate on lots of different levels otherwise we would all just lie in bed and wait for death-which is a strategy I employed for a long time.

I had that dream after the film. The horrible repetitive dream where I am in the ground floor of our house in Liverpool and my sister is bloody and in the Victorian sit-up bath. My mother used to fill that bath with earth for potting and I remember zoetroping this image and that of my grandfather being bathed by the district nurse in it-together. I am behind the red velvet cleaning cupboard curtain, which I used to call the Father Christmas curtain. I wake up feeling helpless and guilty and see that we have been asleep like the couple on the Arundel tomb. I tap on your shoulder like a marmoset and you hug me in your warm hairy chest. Thank God.

We have croissants for breakfast and I think later about the bed of earth when we are in Boots and you suggest you protect my skin and carry me around in a UV tent-a miniature oxygen tent for babies-to block out the sun.

Lots of love
Annabel xxxxxxxxxxxx

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