Friday, 6 April 2012

Magic Carpet Ride

I always wished I had a magic carpet when I was a child. I do a bit now, too. It would be amazing to fly everywhere and anywhere on a whim. For nothing. And yet there's something flimsy and slightly dangerous about a flying carpet too!

The programmes I talked about in my last post featured flying carpets quite heavily and I can remember distinctly trying to get the hearth rug to levitate in a similar fashion. It never happened.

The most familiar flying carpet these days is probably the one from Disney's Aladdin. My children loved this film and the spin-offs too. I had a few issues with it that aren't worth airing here and now. The magic carpet in these films was an actual character. Comical, mischievous, the carpet would cause all kinds of chaos but often saved its master in the nick of time.

In Russian folklore, Baba Yaga supplies Ivan the Fool with a flying carpet.

Solomon was said to have a flying carpet, although it wasn't the carpet that did the flying really. In truth, it was Solomon's control over the winds that lifted the carpet. In the stories, he flew wherever he pleased, taking a huge entourage with him, even his throne!

But Solomon became proud and boastful so God took his power over the winds away midflight and the carpet plummeted to earth, spilling many thousands to their doom. Only a last-minute repentance saved Solomon.

Reading this story, I shuddered at the idea of falling from such a height. As I say, the idea of a flying carpet is exciting but also frightening. Your grip on it would be so tenuous, and the idea of a few centimetres of fabric between you an the ground makes me shiver.

And so the carpet in Th Bonehill Curse is some kind of hybrid. Mischievous, but fatally so. It has a mind of its own and is slightly psychotic. Ragged and torn, black and battered, it's not the kind of carpet you trust with your life. I wouldn't trust it if it were laid out in front of my living room fire!

And the tune that haunted my mind and ears whilst writing this? Enjoy!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

I Dream of Genies

I have a shameful confession to make... when I was a young, impressionable boy, I had a bit of a crush on the genie out of I Dream of Jeannie. Hey! Stop sniggering at the back there! I was only 10 or 11 maybe, and I never really liked the cartoon version! It was a simple tale of an astronaut who falls in love with a two thousand year old genie. What larks!

There were genies all over the place in my dim and distant youth. I seem to recall a children's TV series called Pardon My Genie, too. It was all about a lowly shop assistant who chances upon a genie. Again... what larks!

And then there was Shazzan! And The Arabian Knights! What larks again!

So my childhood was littered with generally benign but inept genies. It wasn't until much later and I read The Thousand and One Nights that I realised just how nasty genies could be. Or rather just how bad people's wishes could be! One final TV encounter a decade or more ago left me with the image of John Leguizamo's Lamp Genie:

Fewer larks! More adventure! And so, the genie in the Bonehill Curse turned out a little less benign and certainly not inept! He's a victim, to a degree and hell-bent on revenge!

I never watched any of the Wishmaster films because as you know, I'm a wuss when it comes to horror! And don't get me started on Disney's Aladdin which I sat through I don't know how many times with my darling children! I'll be talking about flying carpets next time!