I’ve been on a real Buster Keaton kick recently. I go through these phases, usually on an annual basis, where I can’t get enough of something. British stand up, Hitchcock, the writings of Bukowski, Frank McCourt, you name it. However, the one I always return to, my ‘default’ craze, if you will, is always Buster.
There isn’t really anything new to say about the man – his early start in vaudeville, his collaborations with Fatty Arbuckle, and his terrible personal life have all been meticulously documented. The best of these writings, in my opinion, is Buster’s own – My Wonderful World of Slapstick is a work like no other. We can almost hear his incongruously gravelly voice as he dictates his memoirs. The occasional lapse in his own grammar only adds to the book’s charm.
Apart from reading about him, there are few avenues to really get involved in my fandom. Sure, the Royal Albert Hall is hosting a live accompaniment to ‘The Frozen North’ next week, but these events are few and far between in London.
To that end, I decided to make some music videos to celebrate my love of the little man. What better way to watch his work than in an editing window, with the opportunity to relish his work frame by frame? You can learn a lot about his films that way – every shot, when slowed down, or viewed backwards, is perfect. Good job, Buster.
I’ve set the clips (thrilling chases, unrequited love, one shot gags, tons of dancin’) to Parov Stelar. Electro swing and Buster go hand in hand.
Capturing the excitement a 1920s audience must have felt in the playhouse while watching ‘The Goat’, with Buster’s feline leaps through windows only a foot tall, is a challenge. With the right editing, I hope I’ve done him some justice.