We are very pleased to offer this new version of an early GoB album based on the prose piece Don Giovanni from the novel ‘The White Hotel’ by D.M.Thomas, this is a very #NSFW sound scape. The verse is violent, perverse and highly erotic.
In 198something, when I was at Winchester School of Art, I had a friend on the same course as I was that during those three short years gave me several gifts, sometimes random, sometimes birthdays. All unexpected but all gratefully received. Often these were books. One of the early ones was a copy of ‘The White Hotel‘.
This early work by Thomas was in my mind connected with a resurgence of Magical Realism during that period connected to Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Milan Kundera. Thomas didn’t quite reach the heights of critical reception those other managed. His work was diverse, playing with factional narratives, embedded in an academic knowledge of Russian literature (he went on to produce translations of both Pushkin & Akhmatova).
I suspect my friend gave me this book based on my stated interests of the time of Freud & Jung. it may have been an act of flirting, sadly I missed that completely if it was the case. Its a harrowing book as it reaches its conclusion, going into early twentieth century atrocities of war, but it was the verse poem that’s used in this piece that stayed with me. It’s hard to shake when it’s heard. The novel plays with the notion that trauma, rather than a response to past events, may in some cases be a predictor of future occurrences. This is Freud transcending into Jung, the Universal Consciousness and the interconnectedness of all things.
The first iteration of the project used an electronic text/speak app. This new version features a passionate and incredibly potent performance by Antonella Eye Porcelluzzi as Frau Anna G or Lisa as she appears elsewhere in the narrative. As non native English speaker, Antonella’s process and presentation of this verse is perfectly pitched, and both poetic and visceral. I’m hugely indebted to her for taking up this strange torch and making it work so powerfully.
The soundscape has had several edits and additions to better fit with the new performance. The mix is clearer and there are extended sections and new instruments used. Whilst only 4 years ago, as a technician at least I hope I have progressed.
Finally, this work would not exist without its extraordinary source ‘The White Hotel’ by D.M. Thomas. I am indebted to him for this vision and hugely grateful for his permission to release the work. I have included some references and information below about both the novel and Mr Thomas’ other work, which I hope will inspire some to discover his incredible literary catalogue.
So, here is The Letter (REDUX) released on Sounds From The Corridor which huge thanks to head honcho Scott Boatright.
Regarding ‘The White Hotel’
The book’s first three movements consist of the erotic fantasies and case history of one of the novelist’s conception of Sigmund Freud’s female patients, overlapping, expanding, and gradually turning into almost normal narrative. But then the story takes a different course with the convulsions of the century, and becomes a testament of the Holocaust, harrowing and chillingly authentic. Only at the end does the fantasy element return, pulling together the earlier themes into a kind of benediction.
The book begins with a long poem, full of erotic imagery and near-incoherent description. Following this is a prose version of the story that we learn is written by a young woman who is a semi-successful opera singer who comes to Sigmund Freud for analysis as she suffers from acute psychosomatic pains in her left breast and her womb. Her character and the pseudonym Anna G. might draw on examples of real case studies (Freud’s “Wolfman” also appears as a peripheral character in the novel), but the novel is indeed fictional. Thomas lets the reader in on Freud’s analysis, as well as his ambiguous feelings towards his patient. At several stages, Freud is ready to throw up his hands and tell her that he won’t continue his treatment as he feels she is not forthcoming enough to make any real progress. He always relents, however, because he senses that “Lisa” (the opera singer’s real name) has enough redeeming attributes to warrant his time.
A number of efforts have been made to make the novel into a film, which some have described as unfilmable or unadaptable. These have included attempts by Bernardo Bertolucci with Barbra Streisand, by David Lynch with Isabella Rossellini, by Simon Monjack with Brittany Murphy, and by Emir Kusturica with Nicole Kidman.
D.M.Thomas published ‘Bleak Hotel’ in 2008, a memoir that describes the in’s and out’s of Hollywood and the various failed attempts to get the story on the silver screen.
In August 2018, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an adaptation of Dennis Potter’s screenplay, produced by Jon Amiel, producer of Potter’s earlier The Singing Detective, with author Thomas’s reminiscences about the book’s publication and various film proposals. The BBC production starred Anne-Marie Duff as Lisa and Bill Paterson as Dr Probst.
Find more of Mr Thomas’ work HERE
I managed to find my original copy of the book. Some 30 years after the initial gift. Becky, wherever you are, I owe you.