Lady Luck


If there was ever a topic to divide those with a open minds from those with sceptically closed, it is Lady Luck.  Throw the issue on the pile of “don’t knows” because it’s another we are never going to resolve.

Terry Gilliam is known for his bad luck in his films:

Gilliam’s productions are so often fraught with problems that the “the Gilliam curse” has become legendary. The most spectacular disaster (documented in the film Lost in La Mancha ) was Gilliam’s attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2001) which had to be stopped six days into the Spanish shoot when the star (Jean Rochefort) became ill and film equipment was washed away by floods.

And what about his latest venture, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?

In April 2008, the film’s Canadian producer, William Vince, was diagnosed with cancer during the production and died, at the age of 44, just two months after shooting finished. In September, Gilliam was standing outside his favourite Soho restaurant in London when he was struck by a van, sending him flying through the air.

His daughter Amy  who stepped in to help as Giliam became despondent, put what many were thinking:

“I had been on Don Quixote and I wasn’t going to see another film fall apart under him.”

The Exorcist, Superman, The Ring, Rebel Without A Cause and other films are known for their run of bad luck attending the making.  And of course, film plots themselves are based on the consequences of disturbing that which shoud not be disturbed, e.g. in The Mummy.

The same people who woud never bother “wading through” the UFO video, on the grounds that there was “absolutely no evidence” and who think that there is absolutely no evidence that there was a second or third gunman in the JFK assassination, would pooh-pooh any suggestione that that  bad luck was anything but bad luck.

No one disagrees it was bad luck but the question is whether there is anything behind the bad luck and that’s where the sharp division in opinion comes in.

Aside for one moment, one of the groups of people most noted for superstition is the mariners, the sailors and I count myself as one of them.  For example, you don’t rename a boat, once launched.  This even comes into faith, in that the evidence, the odds, certainly tend to it being so and it seems wiser, to me, to die and find out there was nothing there [or not to find out at all] than to die and find out I had been obstinately prejudicial and was headed for the hot place.

The bad luck I could write a book about, from the government directive from Moscow in 2008 which came at precisely the moment I was temporarily highy vulnerable after a series of major losses [not so temporary, it turned out] to little things like booking a table at a venue for a group, which the hotel later acknowledged I’d done and when we all turned up, it hadn’t been booked according to the day manager and there was no room.

Good luck includes parking spots almost always becoming available when I get to a crowded venue through to anyone with me being safe, sometimes when the odds were that an accident was about to happen to them.

So we come back, finally, to:

1.  those guffawing, rolling eyes to the ceiling, bemusedly smiling and thinking “old wive’s tales”;

2.  those who fervently agree, thinking “yes, yes” and then perhaps …

3.  the majority in the middle who have seen things they can’t explain and who neither pooh-pooh them, religiously seeking a rational scientific explanation, any explanation which doesn’t allow anything outside the “laws of science” nor do they necessarily jump on the bandwagon of belief.  They don’t demand absolute proof in triplicate but equally don’t leap to the “nothing in it” or “just conspiracy theory” tosh.

There is a poignant moment in one of Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns when a young boy asks his Victorian father about India, to be told it doesn’t exist.  He begins to protest with evidence but his mother cuts in with: “Your father has spoken, dear.”

Intended to portray religious bigots who are merely one chapter of the closed-minded community within which the so-called “rationalists” also fall slap-bang in the centre, the Palin spoof has far broader application in its applicabiity than he might have thought possible.  🙂

2 comments for “Lady Luck

  1. QM
    December 26, 2009 at 11:08

    I’ve always believed you make your own luck, mind you making it can be damned hard work with all the double checking and worst case scenario preventions.

  2. December 26, 2009 at 11:16

    Oh, I agree and the post doesn’t make that clear. I’m with you that there’s no point hanging about moaning and blaming anything but oneself – that getting off the butt and doing rather than talking is better and so on.

    I was just looking at luck more narrowly than that in the post – as a phenomenon in itself.

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