Radio and television electromagnetic signals have been beamed into outer space for over a century now. If alien life forms had the requisite equipment to decode these signals, what on earth would they make of them? Would they be inspired to mount a response or simply be turned off?
While we wait for a friendly signal or an invasion force, I settle down to watch Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot.
Sugar Kane has befriended Josephine and Daphne. She is now "making love" to Junior, a sugar daddy who talks like Cary Grant. If Sugar could just look beyond the plane of phallacy, she might cotton on to the fact that Junior multiplied by Josephine, equals Joe. Joe incidentally is a saxophonist in between blow jobs. With knickers and boxer shorts all twisted, the travails of Sugar Kane echo those of Marilyn Monroe and comedy overdoses into tragedy.
I'm experiencing the film on a Sony Wega LCD digital t.v. that will receive an analogue signal until 2012. Marilyn Monroe as viewed in analogue is perfectly stable. Digitally, she appears more ravishing but there is a spanner in the works. Completely unscripted, her monochrome digital image will fragment and decay turning into colourful strips of pixellated chaos. Sugar and Marilyn are threatened, not by men or drugs or fame, but rather the electromagnetic interference caused by a boiler or fridge or washing machine in my kitchen.
Perversely, I welcome these non-advertised breaks in my viewing and catalogue them using an SLR loaded with film: Match of The Day Lineker with crinkle-cuts in his image (bless him!); David Tennant possessed by the boiler-fridge monster; Celia Johnson with the mother of all grit in her eye; Gregg Wallace as a mashed potato; Gordon Brown in a recessive spin; Jonathan Ross, self-imploding; and Kylie unveiling a new fangled cubist look.
Footnote for Extra Terrestrial cultures:
Marilyn Monroe - iconic film actress of the 20th century who died in 1962 of a drug overdose.
Gary Lineker - former footballer turned sports broadcaster and Walkers crisp advertiser.
David Tennant - Scottish actor who found fame as the 10th Doctor Who.
Dame Celia Johnson - actress who starred in the 1945 romantic drama Brief Encounter.
Gregg Wallace - chummy bloke on MasterChef who likes pudding.
Gordon Brown - gruff Prime Minister of Britain from 2007-2010.
Jonathan Ross - tv and radio personality who has difficulty pronouncing the letter 'r'.
Kylie Minogue - Princess of pop, singer, song-writer and actress.
First published in London Independent Photography, Spring 2009.