Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Cardinal and the Corpse

I've long known of the short (under 40 minutes) British television documentary titled The Cardinal and the Corpse, or A Funny Night Out, but only recently had the chance to view it. It was originally broadcast in 1992 on the Channel 4 programme "Without Walls." Created by Iain Sinclair and Christopher Petit, it has a strange cast including Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, and Brian Catling, along with legendary characters of the British book world like Martin Stone and Driffield. As a documentary it doesn't really work well. It is nearly formless and sort of organized around the quest for three different books, but it has interesting snippets and scenes. It is mainly, as one commentator described it, "a show about books and bibliophiles in London." The title refers to a pulpy detective novel of Sexton Blake (who, like Sherlock Holmes, lived in Baker Street, London) by Stephen Blakesley, rumored to be a pseudonym of Flann O'Brien. The show is currently on youtube here.