James Ellroy and imaginative time travelling
In a recent(ish) interview with author James Ellroy he described himself as a time traveller, that his telling and unearthing of the stories of times gone by (largely the 1940s and 1950s) is a form of time travel and also described himself as a romantic when it was put to him that his work was a romanticised take on those eras.
These were ideas that connected with ones that I’ve had wandering around for a while now and links with writer Rob Young’s sense of “imaginative time travel” within cultural work and activity and also his description of certain night life events being “experiments in consensual hallucination”.
I suppose an intermingling of those interconnected ideas could well be some of the main themes of Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity and my own work; the creation of imagined worlds, where the iconography, styles and tales of former periods are recreated in an almost archetypal manner.
They are distilled into their essence and their spirit recreated, although not in a pixel-perfect recreation of times gone by, rather a reimagining, a sideways glance at an indefinable past alongside a willing suspension of disbelief and overlooking or even incorporating of incongruous details.
Some of the uses of the word quixotic might well have a place here or to return back to that word, romantic or sepia-tinged (without the associated sense of sometimes cloying sweetness – which I don’t think is really a take on romantic which could easily be applied to the work of James Ellroy).
(As an aside, when I think of such ideas, I seem to often wander back to the 1980 Christopher Reeves film Somewhere In Time, wherein a playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time to a more suave earlier twentieth century era to meet a woman with whose photograph he has become smitten)…
Visit discussions with James Ellroy on time travel here.
Peruse James Ellroy’s resulting work here.