GK Chesterton

 

 

“Art consists in drawing the line somewhere” – G.K.Chesterton – why Chesterton? Why not Chesterton?

STREAM – ‘AND SO TO BED’ from the National Film Board of Canada.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/and_so_to_bed  (Do copy and paste into your browser as I can’t seem to get this link to be active- it may be in bed asleep somewhere!)

 

 

 

 

Painter Bev Pike’s ‘Twilight Navigation’

 

You spend one third of your life in bed, two thirds if you’re an actor”. Groucho Marx

“ It is hard for the unimaginative to conceive that a person may lie in bed, without pencil or paper and indeed with eyes closed, and be creating important art or science”. Anthony Burgess

‘And So To Bed’ is a film which explores the value of the bed in contemporary North America.   This fifty-nine minute documentary visits the physical, mental, cultural and social experience of being in bed.  At the Moonlight Bunny Ranch bordello, at the Nevada State Penitentiary and with filmmaker Guy Maddin on his lakeside cot are a few of the bedlidites who welcome us to their beds in this thoughtful show about Beds where we are literally, one-third of our lives, places in which we imagine who we are, how we should live our lives and how our lives should be fulfilled.  Beds are simultaneously a symbol of home, domesticity, and marriage – real places that make space for contentment, fear, love and violence.  The film reveals beds not just as places of sleep where we take life lying down, but as spaces of recuperation and contemplation, of dreaming and eroticism.

“ We are most ourselves in a bed”, says Dr. Peter Markenstyn, who in his work as a coroner understands it as the place where we  are most vulnerable – both emotionally and physically.  This bed-space is explored through interviews with ‘bedlidites’ – lovers of  beds, enmeshed in an eclectic array of bed lore.

 

 

 

 Painter Bev Pike tells all about her bed

Director Jeff McKay structured the film around nineteen interview segments, each one providing a different personal viewpoint  about the bed.   The film has no narration and  has intentionally been given a meditative pacing.  McKay hopes that after viewing  the film one may have more appreciation of the value of the bed in our lives.  It’s where we make many of our major life decisions  and provided for us an oasis from the hurried and harried world around us.

Director Jeff McKay’s bedtime background : In 1996 I decided to make a film about BEDS.  All around me I saw people with beds who couldn’t see them for what they were…  and it was plain and simple to me that the bed was taking a bad rap. It wasn’t long ago that the bed was the preferred place to write, receive guests, conduct business, create or play music, paint or sculpt fine art.  For myself I have always gravitated to my bed to think, a place where I can collect my thoughts and if I’m lucky to dream.

By the old puritan standards the bed is seen as a place where undesirable activities take place, where slothful and lazy folk spend their lives at the cost of productivity, moral goodness and the betterment of society.

I began to look for lovers of beds or ‘Bed-lidites’ as I came to call them.

I wanted to make a film which charted the historical rise of the bed into our everyday lives. Beds weren’t necessarily always around and certainly not the way we see them today. The French really began the ‘Cult de lit’, back with Louis XVI of France who had a bed in the center of Parliament. He also had a sizable and impressive bed collection of 413 beds. He undertook a renovation of Versailles to accommodate them all. He was also in the habit of giving away beds as gifts. What a great idea!

As it turned out,  my historical rhapsody of beds was not to be. I was told there would be no money for travel to Europe and only two trips outside of Canada. One was to the ‘Treemont Illinois Turkey Festival and Bed Race’. Well it did sound promising. But unfortunately it was not what I imagined, more turkeys than beds, and my sheets were metaphorically pulled out from beneath me. My other trip to the USA was a trek that began in Virginia City Nevada. An amazing place. I loved it, everything about it. Betsy Cromley flew from Boston to meet us there so she could talk about frontier beds. Betsy never made it into the final show. It’s not sounding like such a great batting average so far does it?

While in Virginia City we went down to two other locations where beds loom large, the bordello and in prison. Both of these scenes proved to be wonderful. At the time prisoner Mike Doyle was in Nevada State Pen for murder. Mike was so wonderfully open to having us film with him. He talked candidly about the bed as a space to escape from, yes escape … from prison. Well in a manner of speaking. Beds at the prison also offered another kind of opportunity. The prison has in it, a mattress factory where Mike worked everyday. This too provided Mike with an outlet for his mind and spirit.

‘The Moonlight Bunny Ranch’, is the bordello we filmed at. It’s outside of Carson City and it has since become well known through a television series.

The girls at the Bunny Ranch are a busy bunch and spoke very personally about working and sleeping in their beds there. New found respect for those women!

Then it was onto San Francisco to shoot with the keepers of an S&M shop there, who had an S&M bed built especially for them. But as they said for themselves, “it isn’t just all about sex and the bed”.

In my research I came upon a gifted British writer by the name of Reginald Reynolds. His book, ‘Beds – With Many Noteworthy Instances of Lying On, Under and About Them’, is a tangential wonder of anything Reynolds found that tickled his bed obsessed brain.

  It became apparent that there are a legion of writers, painters, musicians and tyrants who were all at one time considered ‘bed-workers’.

Van Gogh, Fantin LaTour, Rousseau, Mattisse, Proust, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mark Twain, John Milton, Groucho Marx

Voltaire, Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel Johnson, William Shakespeare, James Thompson, Longfellow, Sir Francis Bacon

Composers who took to their beds: Sibelius, Rossini, Puccini, and Schubert .

Anthony Burgess: ““ It is hard for the unimaginative to conceive that a person may lie in bed, without pencil or paper and indeed with eyes     closed,   and be creating important art or science.  One art in particular, a very modern one, can only be practiced in its initial phaseby the artist’s  sending himself to bed and closing his eye’s.  This is the art of film or television scenario. The scenarist must lie down in the dark and watch the  film unroll in the projection room of his skull.  Analogously,  a symphony must be composed in the brain and heard there, down to the last drum  thump and tuba blast, before it can be committed to scoring paper. This is the way Sibelius worked,  Einstein lay down one day and saw E equals  MC squared flash in a fire on the interior of his eyelids.”

“People who think of beds only in terms of sexual exercise or sleep simply do not understand that a bed is the best of all places  for a philosophical discussion, an argument, and if necessary a showdown.  It was not by chance that so many kings of old  administered justice from their beds, and even today there is something splendidly parliamentary about an assembly of  concerned persons in a bed”. – Robertson Davies

Twin beds are only good for hospitals and insane asylums. Fifty % of these inhabitants would not be there if they had not used twin beds at home in the first place.”  – Groucho Marx

Groucho wrote a fab book about beds which was called…”Beds”.

 It is hard for the unimaginative to conceive that a person may lie in bed, without pencil or paper and indeed with eyes closed, and be creating important art or science.  One art in particular, a very modern one, can only be practiced in its initial phaseby the artist’s sending himself to bed and closing his eye’s.  This is the art of film or television scenario. The scenarist must lie down in the dark and watch the film unroll in the projection room of his skull.  Analogously,  a symphony must be composed in the brain and heard there, down to the last drum thump and tuba blast, before it can be committed to scoring paper. This is the way Sibelius worked,  Einstein lay down one day and saw E equals MC squared flash in a fire on the interior of his eyelids.”   – Anthony Burgess

I went out to bathe in Martins saltwater hotbath in Southhampton and, floating on my back I fell asleep nearly an hour by the watch, without sinking or turning – a thing I never did before and should hardly have though possible.  Water is he easiest bed hat can be”.  – Benjamin Franklin

There is nothing sweeter than climbing into bed and plotting the destruction of your enemies”.   – Joseph Stalin

“I have made my bed in the darkness”  Job XVII:13

Beds: per night – 15 cents, Safe Beds : per night – 25 Cents”  – Sign from an American frontier hotel

 Here are some images from the film:

The Simmons bed factory in Winnipeg Canada – no longer in operation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Ben Smit’s Neon Bed – it may keep the baby awake….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Not the best place to grab 40 winks …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls at the Bunny Ranch know a thing or two about being in bed …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filmmaker Guy Maddin loves the flannel – its got to be flannel…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The bedless in Toronto. Chico and his pal tell how the street doesn’t make the best bed…

When you have no bed, you have no place to review the day, your actions or in-actions. And slowly you spin into a timeless void.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bed in prison.  Well inmate Mike Doyle knew pretty much everything there is to know about the bed he slept on and the beds that he manufactured everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I make these films, my goal is to show us an unusual perspective on something commonplace that we see or use everyday.

Now go to bed.

 

Technical info and crew list:

This film was shot in 1997, it was filmed on super 16mm colour film. I cut it on film on a CTM which is a French made flatbed. It is a great machine!

I loved that flatbed. Projection quality image, smooth and good sound to boot. This machine is presently in the hands of the Provincial Manitoba Archives.

The crew of this film were;

Executive Producer: Don Haig

Producer: Kent Martin

Production Managers: Nicole McKay & Graham Ashmore

Sound Recordists: Ross Redfern & Normand Dugas

Camera: John Walker

Assistant Camera: Linda Danchak (an amazing camera assistant) Linda was assistant on 95% of the shooting.

Direction & Editing: Jeff McKay

Original Music: Ian Hodges

Story Consultant: Amanda McConnell