Mr. Hitchcock is Eating a Melon

I’ve been listening to these fantastic interviews between François Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock for the last while (you can get them here). It’s great for numerous reasons, from just being highly entertaining, to being informative, to being rather useful in improving my French (since the whole thing is conducted through an interpreter).

But the best thing about it, in many ways, is how informal and comfortable the whole interview clearly was. They were in it for the long haul (the tapes run to a bit under 12 hours) and so there are all these signs of life in the interview that I feel you don’t get in shorter pieces, where people are more composed and more like “proper” subjects.

For instance, there’s frequently the sound of what I take to be a match being struck. Presumably this is Hitchcock lighting a cigar. It conjures up a cozy setting for me, Hitchcock very much at home despite my base-level perception of him as a weird and awkward fellow. This comes through in his voice, too, I think, which sounds very comfortable in the interview process, remarkably giving and only rarely straying into a kind of “Great Man” talk.

The best moment of all, however, is when they’re having lunch while the interview continues. You hear the clacking of plates as the food is brought in, and all these little pieces of talk and murmuring about eating and so forth. And then Hitchcock declares he’ll have his melon first. After which we hear the smacking of lips on what must have been a pretty juicy piece of melon – I presume it’s a cantaloup.

And I stood there in the supermarket (where I was listening to this) thinking, “I’m hearing Alfred Hitchcock eating a piece of melon.” And then thinking, “this is great.” There’s something deeply charming, but also very grounding, in hearing this kind of audio. It’s like the whole “the queen goes to the bathroom too” kind of equaliser, but in a much more charming and innocent way. Hitchcock eats a piece of melon, makes eating sounds, enjoys himself, and we hear that and can identify with him much more deeply as a person, rather than as a figure.

This also leads me to wonder about the idea of writing about media other than video games from an experiential perspective. As with games, it seems like it could bring more unusual observations into the frame, while suffering from the  risk of being “too personal” and thus potentially seen as irrelevant. Nonetheless, I can’t shake how important listening to Hitchcock eating that melon was, not just as a  “ha ha!” moment, but as a communing with humanity and art and artists.

So, here’s to you Mr. Hitchcock, and here’s hoping the melon was delicious.

5 April 2011
← next words previous words →