Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Perhaps it is significant that I took a DVD of Lawrence of Arabia with me to watch in the back of my landie on Christmas Eve, a luxury El Aurens would never have enjoyed as I sat with a couple of degrees of frost outside outside watching images of the scorching desert.
I always had Lawrence as an image in my childhood, perhaps because my dad had served in Palestine, Egypt and the Sudan, and was a fluent Arabic speaker himself, who had read "the seven pillars of wisdom", and took me to the movies when David Leans epic came out.
Well Lawrence was born in Wales actually in Tremadog, one of the places I visited yesterday. He lived 46 years to my 51 so far and achieved more than I ever will in that time.
I guess I found the romance of the movie more interesting than the reality, and was taken in by it, as I expect my dad having known the realities of the Bedouin and the desert was also. There was something about the strangeness of Peter O Toole's portrayal that I could identify with, his insubordination, his aloofness, his strange manner notwithstanding the trick with the matches (I burnt myself with my lighter yesterday too –accidentally)
As Sherif Ali played by Omar Sharif said, after the fateful incident of the man El Aurens brought out of the desert “Truly for some men nothing is written unless they write it themselves”
Well Lawrence had a journalist who created his image, and a Movie director of the calibre of David Lean who enlarged upon it decades after his death.
The real Lawrence sought obscurity and the routine of service life after his brief sojourn in the floodlights of fame.
So what is the relevance of this. Well my journey into Wales probably seems more romantic from the outside than the actual experience in the miserable weather and the cold, and the cramped conditions spending the night in the back of my landie, like the difference between the cinematic crossing of the desert in less than half an hours screen time, complete with dramatic soundtrack.
There was no soundtrack to my journey into Wales and just like the cinema, what you get is an edited version of 17 pictures out of 102 taken, for you to enjoy and I hope they were worth the effort.
As for Lawrence, if I had been able to stand next to him, I would tower over him physically, he was only five feet five and weighed a lot less than me, who am no heavyweight.
Posted by Larry Arnold PhD FRSA at 2:55 pm