Month: July 2013

Manic Street Preachers – Rewind the Film (ft. Richard Hawley)

To kick-start the promotion for their upcoming eleventh studio album, the Manics have just released the new record’s title track, ‘Rewind the Film’. It’s a great song, and the addition of Richard Hawley is a perfect touch, but the real emotional weight lies in the accompanying video. The film depicts a day in the life of Trehafod in the Rhondda Valley, and is described by Michael Cragg in The Guardian, somewhat brazenly and patronisingly, as ‘[following] an elderly man around a dilapidated village, before he and the locals enjoy a cheery game of Bingo.’

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The hyperreality of tourism

Disneyland_plaque

Plaque at the entrance of Disneyland

Tourism, in its essence, is the process of attempting to reconcile fantasy with ‘reality’. One becomes a tourist through presupposing what a certain location might be like to see or experience, and then visiting there in the hope that this fantasy is accurate. As with all fantasy, however, a place in actuality will never compare to a place as imagined through convoluted, mythologised sources – be they films set in that location, poetry proclaiming its beauty, even (or especially, perhaps) the brochures designed purely to get you to go there in the first place. In Platonic terms, as a crude representation of an object (or in this case, a location) a fantasy can never approach the reality of a place because it is so far removed from the source. To adapt an idea from The Republic:

‘we must inquire whether the poets, whom these people have encountered, are mere imitators, who have so far imposed upon the spectators, that, when they behold their performances, they fail to perceive that these productions are twice removed from reality, and easily made by a person unacquainted with the truth, because they are phantoms, and not realities.’[1]

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