Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Ghost Stories

We went to a theater after work to watch a play called "The Woman in Black". We had no idea what the play is about, but it sounded as if it's actually interesting (as opposed to the average Starlight Express musical shit), and I remembered that once upon a time when I was working for El-Al back in that strange country called Israel I was told by Malka that she saw it at the West End and liked it.
The theater is the building right next to where I work (which is smack in the middle of the theater area). We still left work a bit early and rushed home to take the car back to work, simply because the thought of spending an hour on the train at a very late hour with some dodgy company on the train is something we can do without. Same for walking out in the cold (and it was a cold night).
The play turned out to be one of your classic ghost stories, which is to say that the plot wasn't the most sophisticated of plots; however, it was very well done and I enjoyed it, despite the fact me and theater don't really get along well (and I won't repeat why as I've done it twice before already). They do make the most of what theater has to offer in this play, which was nice.

The play reminded me that yesterday morning the alarm clock's radio switched on to Gold 104's morning show, where the female presenter was saying that someone told her that her mother, called Shirley, recently died; and the night after her death her VCR started taping a film called Shirley on its own, which is obviously a sign that ghosts do exist. She went on to say that it's a well known fact ghosts take some electric form after death, draining batteries and causing electronic equipment to go berserk.
What can I say about this scientific line of thinking? Well, you know what I have to say, so I won't say it. I will say that I suspect the mother wanted to tape a film named after her, so she programmed the VCR before dying (although the ghostly explanation is much sexier).
But what really bothers me is the way in which ghost stories are told to the ignorant listener as if they are verified truth and with such an attitude where if you suspect their validity you must be a complete moron.
Personally, I am unable to prove ghosts don't exist; but that said, I have much more reason to suspect they don't exist than I have to suspect they do. For a start, no ghost came back from heaven to recall its story.

Another thing the ghostly play reminded me of is my uncle. Back when I was 14 or so, he bought me this book called "Ghost Stories". It was in English, and it was a collection of short ghost stories, and its main value was in getting me to read stuff in English (a very foreign language for me at the time). The stories themselves were crap routine ghost stories: haunted castles and similar uninspiring stuff.
But the main reason I remember the book is that my uncle was reading it bit by bit over the next 10 years or so, pretty much until he died.
In two weeks time it will be 10 years to his death, and it's funny how the more time passes the more I appreciate what he did for me and how much I miss him. He was, effectively, a second parent to me, and in many respect he was more a parent than my parents (a fact that my parents, by the way, will not deny).
Whenever I watch The Empire Strikes Back it becomes like a memorial session for him; it was the first film I went to see at the cinema, and he took me there. So you could say he's to blame for me reading Asimov's Foundation for the N-th time as I go to bed tonight.

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