Darkening my clear sun
It didn’t start with BBC4, but Malcolm was brought up short thereby. The BBC digital station started with ten minutes of Sounds of the Sixties. Malcolm was in time to catch the Kinks and the Moody Blues. Malcolm, who was really looking for Channel 4 News, paused, watched, was entranced by memories of a long, lost past. Since Sounds of the Sixties is recycling stuff off old tapes, Top of the Pops and similar, Malcolm found himself talking ’bout his generation, as they were: the males in their high-buttoned jackets, the females … well, pert and perky. Sigh.
There is a direct link from there to Malcolm’s main theme. The previous evening, for reasons too complex to narrate, Malcolm had been sitting in the same room as ITV2′ showing Ten Things I Hate About You. And there the hook was the divine Allison Janney (a.k.a., for ever and for good reason, CJ Cregg) playing “Ms Perky”.
Now Ten Things I Hate About You is supposed to be derived from Taming of the Shrew (to which we may return). Ah, yes, Malcolm knew that. To keep the pseudo-cognoscenti happy, there are the superficial references to the original, though (wisely) the script kept those to a minimum, and broke from the precursor as readily as it could. However and alas (those redundant conjunctions that Malcolm’s English teacher, all those years ago, tried to suppress), one quotation had Malcolm fazed:
Hates him with the fire of a thousand suns.
To his irritation, Malcolm could not place the reference. Soon, his mind evolved a fuller version:
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendour of the mighty one …
Definitely not Shakespeare, closet Catholic or not.
So, let’s Google!
And the first citation is … The Bhagavad Gita? Oh, come on! But wait …
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One… I am become Death, the Shatterer of Worlds.
Yes! YES! So, who? WHO?
J Robert Oppenheimer, Quoting “The Bhagavad Gita”, Alamogordo, New Mexico, 1945
Of course! Malcolm could now reconstruct his mental process. It was a book, a paperback, a Penguin edition, now out-of-print, and its content long outdated by the fall of the Wall. And so, Malcolm was able to retire to bed, happy with another small mystery solved.
In the small hours, though, the problem recurs:
Out of the darkness,
Brighter than a thousand suns
Bury your morals and bury your dead
Bury your head in the sand
E=MC squared you can’t relate,
How we made God
With our hands.
Only with the new day does Malcolm link that to Iron Maiden.