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Here's Jonny.
March 27, 2004 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Still looking for Rosebud. Nine Years after sending a copy of a radio programme he made to Stanley Kubrick, Jon Ronson, is invited to the late Kubrick's "secret lair". You drive through rural Hertfordshire, passing ordinary-sized postwar houses and opticians and vets. Then you turn right at an electric gate with a "Do Not Trespass" sign. Drive through that, and through some woods, and past a long, white fence with the paint peeling off, and then another electric gate, and then another electric gate, and then another electric gate, and you're in the middle of an estate full of boxes. [...] Tony takes me into a large room painted blue and filled with books. "This used to be the cinema," he says. "Is it the library now?" I ask. "Look closer at the books," says Tony. I do. "Bloody hell," I say.
posted by Blue Stone (35 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fascinating. Thanks.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:52 AM on March 27, 2004


fascinating...I'd love to dig around in them (and i'd kill to see an exhibit of Kubrick's boxes set against Warhol's)
posted by amberglow at 8:53 AM on March 27, 2004


Wow. Just reading the article felt like being enveloped in a secret world. I can't imagine what actually being there must be like.
posted by anathema at 9:17 AM on March 27, 2004


Fantastic. I love the part about the 300 bottles of brown ink.

And the typographical discussions. Great stuff.
posted by ColdChef at 9:20 AM on March 27, 2004


Words escape me.
posted by mischief at 9:24 AM on March 27, 2004


This is a great article.
posted by Hildago at 9:24 AM on March 27, 2004


This is extremely fascinating. Now I want to go see this for myself! : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2004


Terrific reading. Thank you so much. The love of detail and small things, and the ability to live that way is something that I can envy without shame.

The fear of his IP diminishing was something new to me as well.
posted by thirteen at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2004


And this is what makes this site great. thanks Blue Stone!
posted by tiamat at 9:48 AM on March 27, 2004


Thank you.
posted by gleuschk at 9:49 AM on March 27, 2004


Another good article, this one about what a strange experience working with Kubrick on the script for AI was, was written by SF author Ian Watson (see here).
One day, apropos flooded New York, I mused what you might see by way of statues or such from the window of Macy's. Within moments Tony had the Public Relations Manager of Macy's on the phone for Stanley.

"This is Stanley Kubrick. I'd like you to go to the window and tell me what you can see."

The man's description wasn't too good. "That's the trouble with this positive discrimination," Stanley grumbled. "They employ retards."

So Stanley phoned the New York office of Warner Brothers to tell them to send a photographer right away to take pictures all around Macy's, these to be sent to us immediately by air-express. On my very next visit those photographs were waiting, and I suppose we looked through them for at least thirty seconds. Two months later, they still lay fanned out in the same position.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2004


I thought this was postable when I read it this morning (just claiming my brownie points there).

Jon Ronson is, of course, the author of Them: Adventures With Extremists, which is virtually a set text around these parts. But then you knew that.

He's also a national (perhaps international) treasure.
posted by Grangousier at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2004


If you want to know what Napoleon, or Josephine, or anyone within Napoleon's inner circle was doing on the afternoon of July 23 17-whatever, you go to that card and it'll tell you."

"Who made up the cards?" I ask.

"Stanley," says Tony. "With some assistants."

"How long did it take?" I ask.

"Years," says Tony. "The late 1960s."




priceless.
posted by clavdivs at 10:10 AM on March 27, 2004


Great, thanks. I can hear him reading it.
posted by carter at 10:17 AM on March 27, 2004


The love of detail and small things, and the ability to live that way is something that I can envy without shame.

I feel the same way. What an amazing life, and what an amazing time that Tony must have had seeing it and living it for four decades.
posted by crazy finger at 10:21 AM on March 27, 2004


[this is good]
posted by gd779 at 10:38 AM on March 27, 2004


I watched Barry Lyndon yesterday and in reading this article this morning, the whole psychology of that film fell into place. Just great.
posted by feelinglistless at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2004


Grangousier, y'know I didn't know that ( - that this was that guy.)
His tv programmes are always worth watching.
(I can't wait to see the sequel to Secret Rulers of the World.)
posted by Blue Stone at 11:41 AM on March 27, 2004


Thatwhichfalls -- another good article -- thanks.

I love these sorts of memoirs where "ordinary" people run into the eccentricities of the legendary. The style reminds me of Hotchner's biography of Hemingway, which is such a guilty, sad, voyeuristic pleasure.
posted by Hildago at 12:23 PM on March 27, 2004


Great link. Thanks.
posted by mrbula at 12:31 PM on March 27, 2004


Kubrick's original plan was to film an epic about Napoleon with Jack Nicholson, but the financing fell though

The only way to describe the sheer beauty of Barry Lyndon is to describe it as a moving oil painting. From the very first scene—of meticulously dressed British “redcoats” parading around a luscious green field in a military parade
posted by clavdivs at 1:29 PM on March 27, 2004


great article. thanks!
posted by jann at 2:35 PM on March 27, 2004


[This is good]
posted by BentPenguin at 4:39 PM on March 27, 2004


I remember reading about "the head" when FMJ was released. Apparently, in the original shoot the final voice-over ran over a long truck shot of the soldiers happily bouncing down the road playing soccer. As the narrator gets to the end of his monologue we are close enough to see that the ball they are kicking is the head of the girl they had shot. Many working on the film were freaked out by it and Kubrick was convinced to change the scene.

Thanks for the link.
posted by arse_hat at 7:55 PM on March 27, 2004


Link of the month! Great stuff.
posted by cell divide at 8:49 PM on March 27, 2004


To me, this piece wasn't as much about Kubrick as it was about celebrity in general. People become famous for some accomplishment or accomplishments. We expect to hear about them on a regular schedule and if we don't then we concoct all sorts of conspiracy theories about them. When they finally give up the ghost and we can rummage their their junk we realize they were just hard working folks trying to get something done without a bazillion fans bothering them 24/7.
posted by skallas at 9:22 PM on March 27, 2004


Great article - I really like Jon Ronson's style. If anybody should have been allowed to dig through Kurbrick's boxes it's him. "Them" is a terrific book, btw.
posted by wfrgms at 10:30 PM on March 27, 2004


Andy Warhol did much the same thing his life was an ongoing diary each day documenting in detail what happened, boxes and boxes of stuff left after he died. There was a MeFi post about it at one time, but he had a box for each month (week?) going back decades where he kept things like half eaten pizza or junk mail or whatever it was that happened on that day. I keep a "box of memories" in the garage but it's more like one for each decade. Maybe someone can dig up the post about the lady who ordered stuff from Ebay compulsively and it took over her house to the point boxes came in and were never opened. It is similar with Kubrick, but it's all work and no play. Kubricks films are his diary, same with Warhol, document your life and be a great artist.
posted by stbalbach at 10:52 PM on March 27, 2004


And this is what makes this site great. thanks Blue Stone!

Yes, it's especially things like this that keep me coming back. Excellent post, wonderful article.

p.s. I first read about Warhol's junk in the March 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Which I saved and now have stashed in one of my own many boxes and filing cabinets; sorry it's not linked online. This article is.
posted by LeLiLo at 4:35 AM on March 28, 2004


What exactly is the difference between Stanley Kubrick and one of those weirdos who was described on metafilter as having a home overfilling with garbage? Stacks of newspapers five feet tall from the 1970's and whatnot?

Thousands of 3 X 5 cards detailing Napoleon?

Some of the movies were very good. Some were not. As for his personal life, the guy was a KOOK!
posted by bukvich at 11:01 AM on March 28, 2004


Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

I think Christiane Kubrick's painting “remembering Stanley" in gallery two goes well with this post.
posted by Tarrama at 8:54 PM on March 28, 2004


What exactly is the difference between Stanley Kubrick and one of those weirdos who was described on metafilter as having a home overfilling with garbage? Stacks of newspapers five feet tall from the 1970's and whatnot?

Thousands of 3 X 5 cards detailing Napoleon?

Some of the movies were very good. Some were not. As for his personal life, the guy was a KOOK!


I think the point is that
a) some of the movies were not just very good, they were very, very good.
b) had he not been such a KOOK, the movies probably wouldn't have been as good.
posted by juv3nal at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2004


At least regarding myself, I prefer eccentric to kook. The article left me with a great longing. Heh, I had to write an inquiry to G. Ryder & Co. Ltd., the maker's of Stanley Kubrick's and Her Majesty The Queen's boxes. Christiane Kubrick's "Remembering Stanley" is good and I like some of her other work too, thanks.
posted by roboto at 4:11 AM on March 30, 2004


Special update for the Mefi Moleskin Mob. Extra thanks for a speedy and thorough reply from Fred Cannon!

The box in question was produced to the following specification:

Ref: R.278

Type: Brass wire stitched box, full depth lift-off lid (case lid) with triangular lugs.

Composition: 1900 micron (0.080 inch) double sided kraft container board.

Dimensions (internal): 16.1/4 x 11 x 3.3/4 inches (R.278).

Our ex-works prices for a box of this type would be:
10 boxes at £3.40 each
25 boxes at £2.20 each
50 boxes at £1.95 each
Prices are in pounds sterling and exclusive of VAT.

Trading since 1914, we have built an unrivalled reputation as manufacturers of bespoke hand made boxes of the very highest quality, a reputation further enhanced when we were awarded The Royal Warrant.

I very much appreciate your interest in our company and hope that we might be of further assistance.

Regards
Fred Cannon
Sales & Marketing Manager
G Ryder & Co Ltd
Tel: 01908 375524
Fax: 01908 373658
www.ryderbox.co.uk

posted by roboto at 11:52 AM on March 30, 2004 [4 favorites]


Sweet. I know someone who's going to order some as soon as he reads this.
posted by ColdChef at 7:31 PM on April 2, 2004


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