Jun 7, 2012

Train of thought is a useful expression.

As long as you consider the multitude of switches on the tracks of my mind.

(I am starting to sound like Viv Stanshall now.  See? I just switched tracks right there? I can not help myself.)


Greta Garbo enjoying a Manhattan, I believe.


Garbo The Spy is a delectable little documentary about one of the greatest spies of the 20th century.  I really do not want to give too much away and I would rather you just watch the film which is streaming on Netflix currently.  I will tell you that Garbo was the code name provided by the British intelligence officer who "controlled" the spy, because of the spy's astounding acting capabilities.

Garbo offered his services to the British as a "walk-in", to spy against the Nazis.  They refused. Garbo then went to the Nazis and offered to work for them, as a double agent.  The Nazis accepted.  After Garbo had built a sizable network and had a few minor successes, the Nazis still clueless to his sabotage, he again knocked on the door of the British intelligence community.  The Brits turned him down again.  When Garbo scored his biggest coup to date against the Axis, he decided to call on the United States.  The US called England, asking, "What is up with this Spanish freelance spy guy?" Finally, England realized what they had and put him in London to fight the Nazis as an official state double agent.  Garbo's work was absolutely crucial to the success of the D-Day invasion (the anniversary of which was yesterday, by the way) and helped turn the war for the Allies.  The Nazis never had a clue that Garbo was betraying them.

That is all I am going to tell you.  Watch the film.  It comes very highly recommended from me.

The documentary is told in a very unusual style.  (The trailer above is not very good, or representative of the type of film the producers and director made.) The witnesses all introduce themselves and their professions in a sequence halfway through the film, well after we have "met" all of them through interviews.  As no one really knew who Garbo was, and, natch, there never is any real "footage" of spies working, per se, the film uses a lot of Hollywood movie sequences tied in to telling the story as it happens.  Plus Nazi and US propaganda films, too.  Also, both the score for the film and the songs chosen for use are not your run-of-the-mill WWII Spy Documentary History Channel music material.  They chose a hypnotic gorgeous Brian Eno song called How Many Worlds and a couple of ethereal sad music box-y Sparklehorse tracks.

The film is more like a Valentine's gift to a great, passionate, sensitive man, who never once minded working in the shadows, forced to live in obscurity his entire life.  Very beautiful.

And the track switches again, ...


Thinking of a world and the light of the sun
And all the many lives that were ever begun,
Ever begun.
Our little world turning in the blue
As each day goes there's another one new,
Another one new.
How many people will we feed today,
How many lips will we kiss today,
If we wake up?
How many worlds will we ever see,
And how many people can we ever be,
If we wake up?
Thinking of a world in the light of the sun
And all the many lives that were ever begun,
Ever begun.

I was so intoxicated with that Brian Eno song in Garbo The Spy that I immediately sought it out and started trawling through all my old Brian Eno "records", if you will, swept up by their grace and wit and sharpness, and by Eno's impeccable style throughout his life.  It has been a marvelous little journey, these past few days, exploring all the little corners of Brian Eno's career.

(Brian Eno is on the far right side of the Roxy Music video, playing what looks like a mini-Moog.)

But, of course, you have already guessed where else this mind has wondered off to, ... 


You probably have to endure a stupid commercial before the video below begins and the introduction is too long and more than a little unwieldy, but it is still worth it.  My favorite parts are when she is kissing the child and when she drops her cigarette.  Breathtaking stuff.

Mwah, ...
I love you all

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