McManus (BF Taylor, 2014) – Audiovisual Exploration No. 38

In my other life I am rapidly approaching the start of the semester (again) and so my thoughts turn once more to what I will be doing in my classroom. In place of the book that I never started to follow the first book that I did manage to complete – details of which can be found here and here – I have been (spasmodically) running a blog called From Robin Wood to Robin Askwith. Here is where I have been compiling, dumping or indeed simply forgetting about things that (may) relate to my research interests. In many ways this blog still exists simply to taunt me by reminding me of where I am and where I thought I would be all those years ago as I started my undergraduate degree at the University of Kent. Nevertheless, I do occasionally return to the blog to see how it is getting on (almost) without me.

While I was there this morning I found this; a feature-length tribute to one of the heroes of the Golden Age of British Wrestling, Mick McManus. If you are wondering who I am talking about then you really should click here.

This tribute probably serves several functions, most notably as a simple cinematic exploration of duration and endurance. The film was inspired by a class discussion on what makes films unwatchable. I certainly think that this film goes a long way to answering this question.

I could tell you that this film is an audiovisual reflection on certain forms of masculine spectacle and I suppose that it is (to a certain degree). I have used it in class before but not as a contribution to any seminar on British popular culture. I normally tend to use this film as a means of getting a reaction and it certainly does always manage to provoke a response from the class it is inflicted upon. The film is a good conversation starter and a good conversation ender at the same time.

I’m not suggesting that you should watch it –  I just thought it might provoke a response. I’ll leave the final words here to Roland Barthes:

A boxing match is a story which is constructed before the eyes of the spectator; in wrestling, on the contrary, it is each moment which is intelligible, not the passage of time.

Roland Barthes, ‘The World of Wrestling’, Mythologies, 1972

Author: Barnaby Taylor

Author and Academic

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