Last Friday my brane turned observing a sky like this
into my mind’s eye being unable to stop seeing John Hurt like this:
Image Source: Panabasis
in two seconds flat. Key phrase wot instigated this searing vision? Idly muttering “rosy fingers of Dawn”. Serves me right for waxing all poetic’n’that.
Here’s a .wav file of the music to which Hurt’s Caligula is dancing (much to the bemusement of his imperiously summoned audience), which might help explain the connection. (Plot summary of the relevant episode – also noteworthy for being the moment when Claudius meets Messalina.) This video clip of Caligula’s speech to his Senators after his campaign against Neptune encapsulates what was so mesmerising about Hurt’s performance of this character.
Excellent interview with Hurt here. I especially love his description of why he lives in the heart of London (because he can’t abide the more bucolic comforts):
He has tried living out of London (in Ireland, and – with the implication of heavy suffering – “I did Oxfordshire, briefly”), but he prefers to be “in the centre of it all. What’s interesting about the human race is the human race. And,” he adds, “If you’re interested in that, you may not end up in the most comfortable of places”.
P.S. ObILoveTheInternets: someone has synched Caligula’s dance to The Troggs’ “Wild Thing”. Of course they have.